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I have a confession to make: I’m brand new to Pokémon Go and barely know what I’m doing. I can’t even speak the language!

If Pokémon Go hasn’t touched your life (yet), you have to be off-the-grid.

Being in Toronto, I waited patiently until the game was officially released here before downloading it to my iPhone. I have not made it my life’s mission to study the many hints and tips and suggestions to be found online – the best games are intuitive, aren’t they?

I do not walk down the middle of the street playing. I do not play while driving a car. I haven’t jumped onto subway tracks or walked off a pier (so far). I doubt I would ever be so absorbed by anything that a serious accident would happen – but it does happen, apparently.

But my curiosity got the better of me, and now I’m a casual player (I’ve reached Level 3, not that I have an idea of what that means or how many levels there really are).

So why did I decide to try out Pokémon Go? Here are my excuses:

  1. It’s popular, so you need to know something to sound like you are up to date (much like knowing what’s going on with American faux-politics or who won a baseball game).
  2. The app itself is free so it’s not expensive to try it and then abandon it.
  3. It seems you can at least play the basics without spending money. Beginner’s update: I now seem to have run out of Poké balls and do not know what to do next!
  4. It helps you understand why people are standing around blocking the sidewalks.
  5. I assume for some it is a “blast from the past” – it started around 1996 for Gameboy users – but that doesn’t affect me.
  6. It turns out to be fun…. so why not?

I also check in on Foursquare/Swarm a lot so perhaps I have some affinity for location-based apps.

Hopefully, these are enough excuses to justify playing. But does it justify all the attention the game is getting, and more importantly, is it enough to keep the momentum going?

Reasons for playing

My primary reason for being curious about Pokémon Go was to see if it really does provide a taste of the future in augmented reality systems. There will no doubt be many clones soon.

Will this type of app be the “next big thing” in the frantically changing world of IT? Is it bigger than Blockchain?

Pokémon Go can boast the following achievements:

Some other reasons to become a Pokémon Go player:

  1. It’s a global scale application that grew from almost zero to many millions; for this reason alone, it merits being a case study for app deployment.
  2. It may have business value for attracting people to physical locations. I have heard something about lures that attract people to specific places, so why not stores. For example, McDonald’s will be partnering with Niantic in Japan.
  3. There are some elements that seem quite useful – actual physical exercise, potential to meet other people in person (is Pokémon Go good for dating?), avatars, and the mashup of real maps with characters.

My initial reactions

My initial reaction: I like it but it’s not that easy to learn and play.

Some questions that came to mind:

  • Would Pokémon Go have been possible without the confluence of the new technologies including mobile phones and app stores, cloud-like computing, open data integration, big data storage and analytics, etc.?
  • How can we marry Pokémon Go with IoT sensors?
  • Is Pokémon Go using Google’s cloud as its infrastructure?
  • Are the scaling problems really an issue with availability of infrastructure or are there bigger issues?

Those who are invested in Pokémon Go may see a bright future with the game which can be monetized through such things as lures if the frenzy continues. How about a Pokéstop in every AirBnb room?

This is what I think. What level are you at?



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