Pokémon Go: Tons of Good Articles

Since its recent launch, Pokémon Go has become a total phenomenon. Here’s a collection of articles on the app, everything from the basic “what is it” to the ways in which it it already having an interesting influence on behaviours (is it accessing your entire Google account?) [update – with tons of links coming in from our colleagues around the worldwide network, I’ve reordered the list so that things are a bit more orderly –  -keep ’em coming!]

What is it?

  • Pokémon Go Brings Augmented Reality to a Mass Audience: New York Times on how “there are video games that go viral overnight, causing people to coop themselves up in their homes for days to play. But the opposite has happened with Pokémon Go, a free smartphone game that has soared to the top of the download charts: It has sent people into streets and parks, onto beaches and even out to sea in a kayak in the week since it was released. The game — in which players try to capture exotic monsters from Pokémon, the Japanese cartoon franchise — uses a combination of ordinary technologies built into smartphones, including location tracking and cameras, to encourage people to visit public landmarks, seeking virtual loot and collectible characters that they try to nab.” [link]
  • Has Pokemon GO won the battle between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality?
    Tom Sharman from Ogilvy Labs in London has written this POV, great read! [link]
  • Website Tells You If It’s Available in Your Country [link]
  • Pokémon Go isn’t a fad. It’s a beginning:Pokémon Go isn’t really a game. It’s a new technology. Venture capitalist Chris Dixon has a line I like. “The next big thing will start out looking like a toy,” he says. Welp, Pokémon Go looks like a toy. Hell, it is a toy. But it’s also the first widespread, massive use case for augmented reality — even though it’s operating on smartphones that aren’t designed for AR. So what’s going to happen as the hardware improves, the software improves, and the architects learn to use these more immersive environments to addict us more fully?” [link]

Related Consumer Behaviours

  • If Pokémon Go feels like a religion, that’s because it kind of is: “Over the past week, tens of thousands of people have taken to roaming the streets, interacting with invisible beings that now inhabit our cities. These fanatics speak in a special language, undertake hours of devotional activity, and together experience moments of great joy and great sorrow. It is an obsession, many say, that has taken over their lives, and for which they will sacrifice their bodies. They understand the world in a way the uninitiated cannot. What sounds like a sudden global religious conversion, is, of course, the launch of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality smartphone game that has restarted the popular culture phenomenon of Pokémon. In many ways, however, Pokémon and religion are not so far apart.” [link]
  • It’s already more popular than porn: Article from O&M London’s Marie Maurer [link]
  • The top game in China right now is a Pokémon Go clone: “Everyone seems to be going nuts for Pokémon Go right now – but the game hasn’t rolled out to a number of countries, including China. That might explain why the top free game in China today on the Chinese iOS App Store is a Pokémon Go clone. The knock-off game, City Spirit Go, features a creature in the app icon that looks like Pikachu crossed with a racoon.” [link] thanks Daan van Rossum!
  • Pokémon Go still isn’t out in Japan – and it’s driving people crazy: “Although the Japanese have been hunting pokemon over two years longer than other countries, the creatures have yet to appear in their native habitat. The stress on servers has kept the game from being rolled out and Niantic’s general marketing manager of Asia politely asked everyone to wait. People are not happy.” [link] thanks again Daan van Rossum!
  • How Pokémon Go is Changing Transport: “Authorities around the world are warning players not to drive around whilst combing the neighbourhood for a hard-to-find Pikachu… And they should, because people are already getting into car accidents… And yet, metro systems are encouraging it… People are hiring Pokémon Go chauffeurs. Why risk crashing your car, when you can pay someone to drive you around as you nab the best Pokémon the streets have to offer? … Small businesses are seeing skyrocketing pedestrian patrons… It’s encouraging sprawling road trips. … It’s getting people out and about.” [link]

Applications & Creative Ways in Which It’s Being Used

  • Sponsored Locations for Ads: “In other words, retailers and companies will be granted the paid opportunity to be featured prominently on the game’s virtual map, in the hope to drive customers inside their facilities.” [link]
  • Pokémon Go Is Essentially A Fitness App And People Aren’t Even Mad: “Brb, becoming a runner so I can catch ‘em all FASTER.” [link] (Update – people are even kayaking as a result of the game [link])
  • Pokémon Go is doing wonders for people with social anxiety and depression: “Real talk – as someone with anxiety/depression, the fact that I’ve spent most of this weekend outside with friends is unreal.” [link] thanks Nicola Strange!
  • Restaurants Are Cashing In on Pokémon Go Madness: Monetizing it! For example, a bakery “eagerly awaiting today’s lunch rush, when a gaggle of workers from the 13th floor of the bank across the street will drop by, catch some Pokémon at the cafe, and probably leave with a few extra coffees and pastries.” [link] thanks Dan Liu!
  • You Can Hire Someone to Do Your Pokémon Go Walking (?) [link]
  • Brainstorming Ways to Link It to Business Rewards [link]

  • Pokémon Go is Secretly Teaching Americans the Metric System  [link]
  • The Westboro Baptist Church Is Getting Owned In Pokémon Go: “One of the game’s ‘gyms’—real-world spots where players can gather to pit their Pokémon against each other—is at 3701 SW 12th Street in Topeka, Kansas. When it’s not serving as a digital monster colosseum, this is the home of the Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group infamous for picketing soldier’s funerals with virulent anti-gay signs. This past weekend, a user named Pinknose took over the in-game gym and set it up with an appropriate guard: a pink Clefairy named Loveislove, USA Today reports.” [link]

Concerns (Privacy, Craziness, Using it in the Wrong Place)

  • Pokémon Go Etiquette: Users asked not to play at Holocaust museum, Arlington National Cemetery [link]
  • You Should Probably Check Your Pokémon Go Privacy Settings: “According to the Pokémon Go privacy policy, Niantic may collect — among other things — your email address, IP address, the web page you were using before logging into Pokémon Go, your username, and your location. And if you use your Google account for sign-in and use an iOS device, unless you specifically revoke it, Niantic has access to your entire Google account. That means Niantic has read and write access to your email, Google Drive docs, and more.” [link]
  • More on Privacy Concerns and Google Account Access: “Niantic’s statement on the issue continued: ‘Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google account information, in line with the data we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon Go or Niantic. The California-based company said Google ‘will soon reduce’ the permissions to the ‘basic profile data’ the game needs and users don’t need to do anything.” [link]
  • The ‘Pokémon Go’ Injuries Are Already Piling Up: “Do any other apps in the game category of the App Store soft-suggest an insurance policy? (No, seriously, please tell us if they do!)” [link]
  • Armed robbers use mobile game to lure players into trap: “Missouri suspects used app’s geolocation feature to target ‘unwitting victims’, says police after another incident saw game lead player to dead body” [link]
  • The Definitive List Of Every Crazy Thing Pokémon Go Has Already Caused: Bodies to breakups to robberies. [link]