There’s a serious Pokemon invasion and it’s only just started.
Pokemon Go, an augmented reality game was released last Wednesday to select countries. Players in Japan, America, Australia and New Zealand were among the lucky first to catch virtual Pokemon and live out their dream of becoming Pokemon Trainers.
The game has a staggered worldwide release and will next be available in the United Kingdom and The Netherlands as soon as the Pokemon Go team can put up more game servers to cope with the huge user demand for the game.
Pokemon are fictional animals which can be caught by throwing a Pokeball at it and over time, they can gain levels and evolve into new versions. Eventually Pokemon Trainers level up enough Pokemon to battle in the Pokemon League and to prove they are the greatest trainer of them all.
At level 5 in Pokemon Go, players can choose a team to align themselves with: Instinct (Yellow team), Mystic (Blue team) or Valour (Red team).
The world of Pokemon is overlaid onto the real world, so players must walk around to capture Pokemon or visit locations – PokeStops or Gyms, where players can stock up on eggs, Pokeballs or buy PokeCoins to help them get further through the game.
In under a week, the Pokemon Go game currently sits as the most popular game within the Google Play Store and iTunes App Store. It’s been mentioned the number of US Android users playing Pokemon Go will soon exceed the number of US Android users accessing Twitter or Tinder on their phones.
And it’s popularity doesn’t stop there, in Australia last weekend there have been Pokemon Go walks in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth with hundreds of people turning up to catch Pokemon. With more people around, the more likely Pokemon will spawn in the game.
It should come as no surprise that the mapping technology used in Pokemon Go has been harnessed from Niantic Lab’s earlier success – Ingress. People who played Ingress submitted location data of their gameplay via GPS and interesting landmarks became portals. From this, the portals of Ingress have become the PokeStops and Gyms within Pokemon Go.
“It turns out, Ingress plays a huge role in figuring that out. Major players of the earlier game contributed location data, or intel, to an online database, populating a worldwide map with various notable locations. That’s why Pokémon Go already knows the coolest places for you to check out in your local area, accompanied with photos.” – Polygon.
If you want to read more about the influence of Ingress on Pokemon Go, this is a good read.
Reports say Ingress has been downloaded 14 million times as of July 2016 and Pokemon Go is already well on its way to challenging this, with Google Play listing the number of downloads between 5 million to 10 million already.
Official Pokemon Go – Twitter