The Pokemon Go Phenomena
If you’ve been outside in the past three months, you’ll have seen adults wandering seemingly aimlessly and staring at their smartphones.
All of a sudden, these adults will stop – with a gleeful look on their face. They’ll start swiping at their phones or look like they’re videoing people on the street. As you may have already guessed, they’re playing Pokemon Go.
It’s the augmented reality game that smashed app Download and usage records for both Android and iPhone. Here are some of the crazy stats associated with Pokémon Go:
500 Million App downloads to date.
9 Billion dollar revenue in its first week of release.
$10 Million a day in revenue still generated by the game.
Pokemon Go is frequently used in over 100 countries.
So what are Pokemon? Where did the idea come from? And how long has it been around?
We’ll be answering the top Pokemon questions to help you understand how this phenomenon has helped take the world by storm, and whether it’s actually good for your kids.
What are the origins of Pokemon? Is it the same as Pokemon Go?
Pokemon is the name of a franchise which originated in Japan in 1995. It includes a variety of games, TV shows, and movies all involving creatures called Pokemon – fictional animals living in the wild and in the cities which humans capture and place into ‘Pokeballs’ and later train and fight against each other for sport. Some Pokémon are friendly to humans, while others are wild and afraid.
The Pokemon franchise is the brainchild of Satoshi Tajiri who used to catch insects and tadpoles in his Japanese backyard.
Upon release of Nintendo’s famous gaming console, the GameBoy, Tajiri envisioned his childhood insects and animals travelling between the wires of the console and within the screen.
He decided to create the Pokémon world where creatures often based vaguely off real life live among humans and often accompany them on adventures.
After unsuccessfully pitching the concept to Nintendo for 6 months, it was slightly re marketed by one of Tajiri’s friends, and Nintendo took the project on board.
Initially unsuccessful, 5 developers quit within months because the project was so poorly funded. Against all odds, the video games Pokemon Red and Blue were released in 1996.
They were a commercial success. From there stemmed international releases, an anime TV series, movies, spin-offs, and the hugely successful Pokemon Go.
So to put it simply, Pokemon Go is another element of the Pokemon franchise which has been around for over 20 years. It’s the first Pokemon game to be released on the smartphone platform.
What is Pokemon Go? How does it work?
Pokemon Go is an augmented reality game for Android and iPhone. Augmented reality can be defined as “a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user’s view of the real world, thus providing a composite view”.
Basically, Pokemon Go uses the smartphone user’s GPS location and camera to superimpose the Pokemon world into the real life world generated by the smartphone.
It does this by gathering the user’s GPS location from Google Maps and placing an avatar of the user on the maps. It generates random Pokemon to spawn around the avatar, allowing them to catch them using the aforementioned Pokéballs.
The game also uses significant locations around the user as ‘Gyms’ which users approach and do battle on using the Pokemon they captured.
The game is about catching and battling Pokemon while the user moves around in real life.
Is Pokemon Go safe for my child to play?
There have been some concerns surrounding the use of the user’s data and location by Pokémon Go’s creators, as the game’s terms and conditions allow it access to the user’s Gmail, Google accounts and more importantly able to control the camera of your phone. However, the game’s developers are reputable and don’t use the data in any sinister way.
In terms of the game’s value to a child, it is very different to most games. For the game to work, you must be moving outside, so that the GPS of your phone can track your movement and generate Pokemon to catch accordingly.
Therefore, the game forces users to walk around outside. It has taken gaming out of the bedroom and into the streets. It can also be valuable for kids who are learning directions, or are looking to learn more about the society around them. Overall, the game has unprecedented benefits over other games on the market.
On the downside, as the game requires people to move and look at the screen at the same time, some caution should be taken. It is very easy to lose your surroundings when playing the game, so be sure to talk to your child about safety when playing the game.
Also in order to accumulate more Pokemons, eggs and special powers you need to spend a lot of time on the game. making it very addictive. There are also in-app purchases to help you achieve goals faster.
Further, the game drains battery very quickly, and also uses a moderate amount of internet data.
Can my child play with friends?
Pokemon Go is a very social game, and is more fun to be played with friends. Kids will love walking around with a buddy, trying to catch Pokemon.
Wannabees Family Play Town, on Sydney’s Northern Beaches is hosting a Kids Pokemon Mega Disco Party. On Saturday 26th of November from 5 pm – 7.30 pm, bring the kids to Wannabees for the best Pokemon fun, without phones. We will have a Pokemon hunt and lots of Disco games for the whole family. For details and to buy tickets visit the official page.
We’re also offering the option of Pokemon themed kids birthday birthdays, so your kids can enjoy this new wave of the Pokemon craze together!