Pokémon Go – Blurring the lines between virtual and reality

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The evolution of technology is something that always lures people into a discussion, and the introduction of augmented reality is no different. Augmented Reality (or AR) is the integration and overlay of digital information to a live visual feed, which in simple terms means that ordinary objects can be brought to life using a camera and a screen.

Pokémon Go is a location-based AR mobile game that allows players to capture, train and battle virtual Pokémon. It encourages people to explore their local areas in a bid to “Catch ‘Em All”. By utilizing the GPS and camera on a smartphone, developers Niantic have created an engaging and accessible AR app that gets you walking – and talking.

Launched only a few weeks ago Pokémon Go has already become arguably the biggest AR campaign the world has ever seen. Considering that audiences most likely to adopt and understand AR are the same audiences who played Pokemon when they were younger, Pokémon Go has combined nostalgia and brilliant technology to create a game, which has seen Nintendo shares rocket by 65% in less than a week.

With the number of daily active Android users already surpassing the likes of Twitter and time spent on the app averaging 43 minutes a day, it is clear the highly interactive content offered by Pokémon GO is paying off. Smartphone staples Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook’s Messenger now lag behind Pokémon Go’s engagement times by at least 13 minutes, and as they say; time is money.

Pokémon Go is now also dominating these other profiles. People are sharing their experiences both online and offline with a huge wave of social media posts featuring various screenshots of Pokémon being found in interesting places like hospital beds. Not only that, the app has fostered a community which transcends boundaries; bankers are battling students and children are hunting Pokemon with their grandparents, demonstrating how Pokémon Go has utilised what is commonly percieved as an insular technology to bring the world together.

It has already been suggested as a potential tool in the fight against childhood obesity, praised for developing the social skills of autistic children and jumped on by brands who see the huge potential of becoming a Pokestop to help drive footfall to their attractions / retail outlets.

In the first few weeks, as with almost any new release, the app has had its fair share of controversy, but with time to iron out these issues in the coming months and the exponential potential to develop the app experience, there is little doubt that from a brand perspective the good will overshadow the bad.

One thing this app has no doubt demonstrated is that augmented reality is a tool that can help deliver great content in a unique and engaging way. It can provide a platform that can transport users across worlds all from the comfort of their phone, potentially reaching millions and Pokémon GO is the start of this exciting future.

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