It’s official, the pocket monsters are back and more ubiquitous than ever. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about the sensation that is Pokemon Go. Actually, even if you have been living under a rock, you’ve still likely heard about it because someone probably lifted up your rock in search of a Charmander.
The “augmented reality” mobile game, which has players hunting virtual Pokemon characters on their phone in the real world, has set record after record in its first week. It has captured the attention of, not only the original generation of Pokemon-watchers (who are now pushing 30), but also Millennials and Gen Z … and probably your grandparents. It’s that popular.
But the addictive nature of the game, coupled with its real-world nature, has caused some (eminently foreseeable) problems as players walk around busy streets staring at their phones.
What lies ahead for the most popular mobile game of all time? Is it just a fad that will fade out? Will it inspire more late-90s phenomena to make a comeback? Will all the Pokemon Masters be killed off, one by one, as they walk into traffic?
With an assist from Damon Hart, I set the odds on your new favorite pastime.
I’d make “bumping into people on the sidewalk” an even bigger favorite, but when two PG players bump into each other, does either one even notice? I think that might be this generation’s version of “When a tree falls in the forest … ?”
Pokemon Go is the huge favorite because everyone and their dog is playing! The dogs with opposable thumbs, anyway. Even though Tesla’s are becoming more affordable – and their “autopilot” is proving to be more of an auto-pile-up (*rimshot*) – having your car drive itself into an accident is still a luxury most can’t afford.
What I’m really excited for is the first accident that results from a Pokemon Go player trying to take an extreme selfie with a virtual Pikachu.
One of the happy side effects of the PG craze is that otherwise sedentary people are getting outside and moving around. That said, don’t underestimate humanity’s lethargy; Ash is the easiest character to cosplay, and so he will be cosplayed at an alarming rate.
Look for Jigglypuffs to become less and less common as PG cures the obesity epidemic. Speaking of which …
This is going to be an epic battle. Will more players drive from location to location hunting Pokemon or hoof it on foot? It’s a clash between being lazy and finding more Pokemon. I honestly don’t know which one people like more right now.
But one thing’s for sure: PG is proving more alluring than intentional physical contact. Sorry Tinder.
As for voter turnout, I think it will actually increase as candidates promise new and improved PG infrastructure: “Read my lips: no new Giovannis!” “A Bluurkins in every home!”
PG already beat Twitter in DAUs on July 11th when it garnered 5.9% of US Android users. In all seriousness, I don’t think the app has reached its peak yet. But color me surprised if it ever hits 7%.
As of Monday, July 11th, the game was seeing about 21 million daily active users.
Niantic Labs has already stated that they are looking to create a Game of Thrones app that will allow you to align yourself with House Stark, Targaryen, Lannister, and so on as you travel throughout a faux-Westeros. Take my money now!
Ingress is another Niantic game that actually predates Pokemon Go. It’s seeing a big upswing in users of late.
Not to be left out in the Blizzard, a rumored Warcraft game could also be in the works.
A major Hollywood special effects studio created a game called HoloGrid that is expected to take AR to a completely different level, and is heavily influenced by that chess-type game Chewie plays in Star Wars.
Where’s Waldo would be perfect, though it would sort of be a PG ripoff.
Tetris could be fun: players could organize, like, real-life garbage cans and mailboxes into squares and rectangles.
I’m not exactly sure how POG would work as an augmented reality app, but please for the love of God don’t let Mario Kart or Mortal Kombat be taken to the streets. I can just picture some feisty investment banker throwing uppercuts outside a Shake Shack, then tossing his Tesla on autopilot and racing Wario to the New York Stock Exchange.
There’s a new Power Rangers movie slated for release this year, so that gives it a pretty good leg up. That said, as soon as Soulja Boy posts an instructional video on how to do the Macarena, you’re going to see it on every dance floor and every street corner in America.
Always in search of irony, hipsters will probably flock to Zack Morris-style cell phones – which can’t even play PG – now that the game is so popular.
I will personally ensure that Billy Bass stays dead.
Kids these days are willing to pay a lot for mobile games. Kids are not willing to be associated in any way, shape, or form with their parents.
Featured image: Sadie Hernandez (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode].
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