“I’ll be right back,” he said running out the door, “there’s a really good one just down the road.” For the few of us that haven’t downloaded Pokémon GO yet, this is becoming an all too familiar scenario and it’s only been out for a week.
Pavements, restaurants and even revered memorials are overcrowding with people glued to their phones, trying to catch a rare Pokémon or travel far enough to hatch an egg. Since Pokémon GO launched last week, millions of people have been sucked into the race to catch ’em all.
Players, or trainers as they appear in the game, have become completely absorbed in their virtual world, bumping into people and lampposts as they count up the metres needed to reach the next level.
Pokémon goes bang
The app, in which users have to move around their local area to find different Pokémon, has exploded in popularity. It’s only been out for a week but around 70 million people already have the app on their phone as it skyrocketed to the top of iTunes and Android App download charts.
On social media, discussions about Pokémon GO are everywhere, with over 100 tweets a minute using #Pokémon GO and nearly 100,000 people on Facebook mentioning it in the past 24 hours. People are sharing tips on where to find coveted rare Pokémon, grouping their friends together for advice and sharing memes poking fun at the Pokémon GO craze.
A gaming revolution
While the release of a hotly anticipated game often leads to users shutting themselves in a dark room until they reach the coveted end, this app makes people go outside, travel around their local area and talk to people trying to catch the same figures.
It takes a lot to go viral on a global, the-majority-of-your-office-has-downloaded-it, kind of scale. Pokémon have done it through a mix of nostalgic appeal, an interactive interface and a sense of community.
Pokémon GO for marketing
While it may not seem like a natural fit, there’s a huge new audience milling around and you can increase the chance of them visiting your business in a few ways.
It is possible to buy ‘Pokécoins’ to create a hotspot where Pokémon collect, which could naturally draw players towards your business. If you run a shop, restaurant or café this could work really well because once people have trekked to your front they might stop and buy a snack.
If your business doesn’t lend itself as well, you could offer charging stations to save any players missing out on Pokémon because their battery has died. Similarly, if you find a rare Pokémon near your business you could advertise this on your social channels.
In a world that is uncertain about its future, Pokémon GO transports us back to the past where the only thing that matters is catching ’em all.
You also find your ways to make it useful.