Pokémon GO: 7 lessons for gamers, creators and investors

Pokémon GO
Pokémon GO

Yes, yes, Pokémon GO has been amazing, a breakthrough, a scourge on the earth. Whatever you think about the game and the behaviors it engenders, it’s been groundbreaking and the world will never look the same. I’ve been enjoying capturing Pokémon and being part of team Valor. But even if you find the whole thing reprehensible, it’s not going away. Here are seven things that Pokémon GO taught me.

1 – Gamers are Not Sloths

One of the bigger knocks on video gamers is that they are sedentary, staying in one place for long periods of time gaming. But as it turns out, that’s less a function of the gamer, and more a function of the game environment. Pokémon GO proved that gamers are more than happy to get up and move around, if given a compelling enough. Sure, video games might rot your mind. But we can no longer claim that the medium rots your body too.

2 – It’s all about the IP

This should be no surprise to most folks who track gaming, but when it comes to successful augmented reality games, the IP is what matters most. Pokémon was, in many ways, a perfect title since it layered the little beasties on top of a world that’s mostly similar to the one we live in today. A game like Starcraft, however, wouldn’t translate well to AR, while a VR version of Starcraft or Diablo would be sublime. Nintendo is a master of adapting IP to new game paradigms, and I can just imagine them figuring out which of their franchises would best for AR and which would be best for VR. Personally I can’t wait for a VR version of Zelda. The Vanishing Realms Adventure/RPG on the Vive gave me just a tiny taste of what an immersive Hyrule would really be like.

Other Nintendo titles that seem tailor-made for AR: Pikmin, Animal Crossing and perhaps even Mario Kart – if combined with one of those Go-Cart racing tracks where you had your 11th birthday party. I expect every game company is diving deep into their back-catalog to find AR-ready games, while popular mobile games (like Mino Monsters, Plants vs. Zombies and Cut the Rope) are presumably all building AR versions of their IP.

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