Pokemon Go Photo

Using augmented reality, Pokemon GO uses your phone’s GPS and camera to turn the real world into a massive hunting ground for iconic creatures.
Local landmarks and businesses are transformed in real-time into Pokemon Gyms (where trainers go to train their Pokemon and battle other teams) and PokeStops (where players can physically visit to stock up on free accessories and items).
With 1/5 people between the ages of 16-30 already claiming they’d be most interested in capturing their life with augmented/virtual reality (according to Truth Central data), it’s not surprising that Pokemon GO gained such traction. The app has lucratively paired augmented reality with geo-location technologies to ignite a whole new era of gaming. But it wouldn’t have been as successful without bringing in the much-loved franchise that has rekindled the passion of old-school Pokemon enthusiasts, as well as creating new, younger fans.
This truly “real-time” gaming experience has elevated the level of game play and driven the popularity behind the app.
“Real time,” just got REAL.
As Pokemon GO continues to disrupt the gaming industry and push the limits of how AR is being integrated into culture, we explore 3 macro cultural themes that have come to the fore given the game’s rising popularity.
Early stats are showing the majority of players are older Millennials, debunking the idea that playful games, like Pokemon GO, are not for adults.
We’ve uncovered two underlying forces that have sparked the Pokemon GO phenomenon amongst older Millennials. These are rooted in both the redefinition of adulthood and a strong sense of nostalgia for previous eras.
Firstly, rather than defining adulthood with key traditional milestones such as getting married or buying a first car, there is a shift in what young people consider to “adult behavior.” The word “adult” used to be a noun, but today “to adult” is a verb (#adulting). This speaks to the notion that “adulthood” is no longer an aspirational goal but, a fluid state that young people dip in and out of depending on the context. Rather than big, unattainable milestones, adulting is associated with small wins like having an unbroken iPhone screen! In this new context, there’s no judgment when 32 year olds are running around public spaces in pursuit of virtual creatures…
Secondly, in a world where the Internet is our window into the world, the past is more accessible than ever and cycles of reinvention become significantly faster. This is fuelling a strong sense of nostalgia. It’s no wonder then that older Millennials are seeking out this much-loved game from their childhood.
How can brands help people move smoothly in and out of this state of “adulthood” and furthermore, how can they help people access these fragments of “adulthood” on their own terms?
Today, 84% of young people agree that people share far too much personal information online these days and 70% consciously restrict their level of privacy online. Within this context, it makes sense that the iOS sign up process for Pokemon GO has raised concern. In order to play the game, one must provide full access to all aspects of one’s Google account with no disclosure of permissions granted. Now, even Minnesota Senator, Al Franken, is probing the games’ software developer, Niantic, for some answers (Reuters).
Consumers may be willing to share more of their personal data (in order to gain benefits) but they expect a greater degree of transparency in return. We see a rise in the new “value exchange” between people and companies, with personal data as precious currency, which creates a new relationship that brands must nurture. 55% of young people say that they are willing to share their data, as long they understand how it will benefit them. Having said that, companies must understand that people will opt-in if they know how their data will be used.
How can brands be more transparent and accessible in their intentions to gain and use data, to ensure people feel secure?
The rush and novelty to collect Pokemon creatures in unexpected locations and the “lure” functionality within the game provides an attractive opportunity for brands to drive foot traffic to key retail locations.
With 57% of consumers concerned that they’ll discover fewer new things if companies always show them exactly what they’re looking for, the sense of discovery, which is connected to the shopping experience, has been diluted by technology and the ‘filter bubble’. Yet here is Pokemon GO, introducing people to new commercial spaces in a ‘random’ fashion, thereby fuelling the appetite for discovery.
In a world where every move is predicted by data and analytics, how can other brands spark delight among customers by allowing for serendipitous discovery?