Augmented reality is the new norm thanks to Pokémon Go
Unless you’re a hermit with no internet access, you’ve probably heard of Niantic’s Pokémon Go by now. If you’re somewhere between the ages of 15 and 30, you’re probably at least a level ten trainer wandering around at odd hours in an attempt to catch ‘em all. Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game released on July 6, was practically an overnight sensation. Since the game went live, it has been all over the media due to a series of unforeseen consequences. Some of these consequences are positive, such as an increase in players’ physical activity due to the mobile nature of the game. Other consequences, however, are much darker. People have been reporting injuries sustained while overzealously pursuing Pokémon, and one player even stumbled across a dead body. The release of the game has also significantly increased calls to the police about trespassers as players wander onto private property in an attempt to capture particularly rare types of Pokémon.
This recent proliferation of news surrounding Pokémon Go, whether positive or negative, shows just how popular the game is. No other app in history has ever had such an immediately visible effect. Forbes even reports that Pokémon Go is on the brink of surpassing Twitter in users, regardless of the fact that Twitter is global and well established while Pokémon is brand new and currently only available in three countries.
This app’s astonishing success could predict a rise in augmented reality apps. Already, online discussions about which
franchises will be the next to develop similar apps have appeared on sites like Twitter and Reddit. One of the likely candidates to emerge from these discussions is Harry Potter, which could release a well timed app to coincide with the premier of the upcoming Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Likewise Ghostbusters, opening July 15, could easily translate to a Pokémon Go type game in which the Pokémon are replaced with supernatural invaders. Whatever comes next, it is clear that Pokémon Go has set a new precedent for gaming.