Keeping all the negative headlines, safety concerns, technical issues and legal implications aside Pokémon Go is best thing that happened to Niantic Inc.
And the next best thing for Nintendo after Mario, according to David Ingles of Bloomberg, as the Japanese Multinational recorded its best one-day move since 1983.
Having a glance at the specifics will tell you why:
Pokémon GO is the biggest Gaming App in US history and the fastest Mobile Game to clock 10 million downloads worldwide leaving Tinder and Candy Crush Saga’s records in dust.
Pokémon GO’s Usage Stats beat the likes of Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram and is reportedly gunning for Google Maps now.
While Nintendo saw $9 billion added to its market value one month into launch, Pokémon GO has raked in more than $200 million for its makers, adding $10 million of revenues each day since its launch on July 6, 2016.
Meh, enough with all the mind-boggling facts and figures. What all this fuss is about?
Wonders the modern-day caveman, spotting twenty somethings nearby walking in random directions like a zombie, wielding their smartphones and aimlessly staring at thin air through the camera lens.
Thus, below is a description to enlighten the kind unaffected by the frenzy.
Pokémon GO is a free to play, location-based Augmented Reality game developed and published by Niantic, Inc. an erstwhile Google internal startup led by John Hanke, in partnership with Nintendo and its subsidiary The Pokémon Company.
Milking the cult of Pokémon franchise, this phenomenal game has the world churning Pokémon Trainers out of ordinary people.
Here are the three major goals that drive any Pokémon Trainer in this game:
1. Capture, train and evolve all the original 151 Pokémons given in the Pokédex.
2. Find Pokéstops for items like Pokéballs, Eggs and Incubators etc. that help you catch more Pokémons.
3. Battle trained Pokémons against other Pokémon trainers at Gyms located at Places of Interest.
While most of us are fascinated by the spotlights, few know what goes on at the backstage.The quintessential know-how that hide behind the curtains is as alluring as Incense is to any Pokémon. And last time we heard, it doesn’t do anyone harm to know a little nerdspeak.
It goes without saying that you Gotta catch ‘em all!
1. Augmented Reality (AR)
What do you get when you put Virtual Reality and the Real world to work?
Augmented Realty, youthful sibling to Virtual Reality.
From Nintendo’s Virtual Gameboy back in the 90s to Oculus Rift, Virtual Reality has been the bedrock of Handheld and Wearable Tech simulating artificial 2D/3D environments that took gamers into new worlds each time.
But using a niche technology like AR as its mainstay, Pokémon GO merges the digital and the physical world into one and serves it to the masses—for free.
As the players gawk at their smartphones, their self-styled Avatars wander in Real world terrain searching for Real world landmarks the game overlays picture of a cute Squirtle or annoyed Rattata on the view through their Smartphone’s camera.
However, the experts argue that this only marks as use of a primitive version of AR and the technology to come in future. We have our fingers crossed on this one.
2. LibGDX Framework
Game development framework written in Java along with C++ and C# powers Pokémon GO and so was Ingress, its not-so-famous predecessor mobile title by Niantic in late 2012.
What really favors LibGDX framework’s over Android SDK as a Game development framework for Android devices is its
* Extensive toolset and features
* Cross platform Support across Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Android etc.
* Ability it offers developers to test the game on Windows or Linux while you still build it for Android platforms.
Developed by Unity Technologies and launched at Apple’s WDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) to build functions and projects on Mac OS, this powerful Gaming Engine has been the backbone of some popular Games like Temple Run, Angry Birds 2 and Bad Piggies among several other notable games.
Individual developers and Companies worldwide have been using Unity3D for creating, testing and playing video games in different environments such as PC, Consoles, Websites and Mobile devices owing to its advantages such as these:
- Ease of Use
- Visual User Interface
- Intuitive tools
- Module-based development
- Ready-made assets in Asset Store
- Massive scalability
- Cross platform support across Windows, Linux, Mac, iOS, Android etc.
4. Google Maps
John Hanke, Founder and CEO of Niantic Inc. was also one of the persons behind Google Earth back at Google and had role to play in development of Google Maps.
This is why accurate mapping in Pokémon GO forms such a significant part of the Gameplay and why Niantic has been so successful at doing so twice counting the success of Ingress.
Furthermore, integrating First Person View Google Maps and Markers for showing Landmarks or Points of Interest in the game makes it easy for the users to get out of their couches and explore real-world surroundings to get some sun and fresh air into their lungs.
5. Google Cloud Datastore
This high performance No reason why Pokémon GO has been able to keep up with the viral usage and demand from the newer markets and across the world.
Unlike other tech giants like Facebook and Twitter that built up their own cloud infrastructures, Niantic chose to rent their former parent company Google’s Cloud Datastore to power its “massively scalable server and global dataset”.
So what makes Cloud Datastore a perfect match?
- Inexpensive for rapid development
- Proximity to cloud-based mapping data
- Global infrastructure to meet local performance and privacy requirements
- Ability to scale up and down as and when demand fluctuate
Why It Has Been So Successful?
Apart from all the tech talk about Augmented Reality being the reason why the game has been an overnight success, there are a few psychological clues to the scene.
Experts argue that it is Nostalgia that has fueled this obsession, which evokes shared memories among people from the past.
Capturing and training Pokémons gives them a chance to bring back old memories from their childhood, whether it was watching the Animation series, playing with trading cards or Video Games.
This nostalgia commands an influence so profound, it also invokes positive feelings in the user’s mind. Creating a following akin to the pop culture of sequels and reboots at the movie theatres, the game has become a runaway hit across age groups.
What Makes It So Addictive?
According to a 2015 study Computers in Human Behavior users tend to engage more with Apps that have trophies, awards or levels opposed to the Apps those without any such brownie points at offer.
Suspiciously, the makers of most immersive games like Clash of Clans, Asphalt 8 and Dead Trigger franchise have also been notably successful at exploiting this.
Events like Leveling up, unlocking new Achievements excites and challenges the end user, so playing any of these games becomes a rewarding experience in itself. Each time user goes back to the game, she returns with an influx of feel good hormones such as Oxytocin and Dopamine.
Couple all this with a technology like Augmented Reality, bunch of elusive Pocket Monsters and a hundred million nostalgic Pokémon fans and you get Pokémon GO.
Performance Issues and Missing Features
Each Gaming App has its own drawbacks and glitches but, due to such unprecedented response and expectations, challenges for Pokémon GO belong to a different league.
Server Stability need to improve to keep up with the ever increasing traffic and keeping in view huge number of users waiting for availability in other untouched regions across Asia and Africa.
Battery Consumption is one of the most crucial performance aspects for any Gaming Application. Not only this spoils the Gaming experience but also makes any smartphone hotter than Magmar.
Inaccurate Map Locations for Gyms, Pokéstops make the tedious work of Pokémon Hunting all the more cumbersome for lazy Pokémon Trainers.
Pokémon Trading is one of the most requested feature amongst Pokémon GO users along with Pokéselfies, which has enough potential to become a fad amongst candy craving Trainers. It would do a lot good for Niantic to roll out these features in future updates.
Let’s keep tapping our fingers on the screen and hope that Niantic comes up with solutions for these as soon as possible.