Pokémon Go – why this location-based game took over the world?



In 1996, Nintendo has given to the world, one of the most popular series of computer games – Pokémon. In a very short period of time, the game became one of the most profitable out there. Shortly after, the company released a TV series, toys and gadgets. The world simply loved these little creatures and it managed to keep the momentum for a really long time. Today Pokemon has already lost the most of its charm. The new generation has it’s own characters… but the old fans of the game and series are still there. Guys from Niantic – software development company from San Francisco realized that potential and came up with the brilliant idea to renew the spirit of the series. I’m talking of course about Pokemon Go – the location-based virtual reality game that for the last 10 days tool over smartphones and cities all over the world.

Currently number one application on iOS and Android, the game is based on Ingress, real world exploration game.  It allows you interact with the real world, using a smartphone as a guide in physical space. The goal is to explore new places and collect virtual Pokémon monsters in a outdoor environment. Although it doesn’t sound like anything special the idea took off. It clearly meets the expectations of Pokémon fans as many of them wanted to experience their own adventure with searching, catching, training, evolving, buying items, or challenging other players to fight. All of this, what we – the fan dreamed of years ago is in this game.

The app has a couple of cool features but here are my favourite ones:

Searching and socialize – Undoubtedly, the strongest advantage of this game. It brings people together because the game is built on the principle “the more people the better”. Alone, you have to spend a lot of time to find the desired Pokemon, but in group is higher chance to find them quicker.

smiling friends with smartphones sitting on grass

The most effective and productive form, is to search for Pokemon on the bike.

pokemon-go-radarMoreover, the game has so-called quests, where one of the tasks is to passage certain number of kilometers to get special rewards. Ironically, the game force players to simply go out and play which is beneficial to health. With the help comes radar. Once you’ve set up the game and start walking, you’ll notice a small grey box on the right of your screen. If you tap it, you will see a group of up to nine Pokémons in your local area. These creatures have little footprint markings underneath their avatars or shapes: zero footprints means you should see the Pokémon immediately, one footprint means you’re very close, two footprints means you’re on the right track and three footprints means they’re outside your immediate vicinity, but you’ll likely find them if you start walking in the right direction.

If the Pokemon is visible, the application will notify us, so that we do not have  to focus our attention on the monitor all the time. What I found really interesting is that some creatures will be limited to their natural habitats. If you want a water or rock elemental Pokemon, your best bet will be to head to a river or the mountain. Really cool!

Pokemon-Go-Battle-ImagesGyms – In a game they appear as large colored towers in some places on the map. In a real world they’re usually located in places of interest or hubs of activity. They are the only places where Pokemon Battles take place.


To participate in these battles, you can pick from one of three teams and then assign a specific Pokémon to a gym – if it’s empty, you’ll capture it for your team and fortify its defences, otherwise you’ll be using the Pokémon you have caught, engage in battle with the defending Pokémon at the Gym to claim control. As you see, rules are very similar to Ingress. You need to fight for your team and take control over area in the map.

There are also places in Pokemon Go that allow you to collect items such as eggs and more Poke Balls to capture more Pokemons. They are called PokeStops – indicated on map with blue icons .

What is really cool is that these PokeStops will be located at select places in your neighbourhood, such as historical markers, monuments, and art installations. Actually data about these places were collected by ingress players. They’ve contributed location data to an online database, populating a worldwide map with various cool places. Furthermore you can register Gyms and Pokestops by yourself. That’s why Pokémon Go already knows the coolest places for you to check out!

Imagine what you can do to combining this features. You can plan your trip with friends, family to not only check worthwhile places but having fun too.

It is not hard to be surprised that, immediately after the release, the game has added billions of dollars to the market value of Nintendo. The number of users is still growing and soon it might exceed Twitter. Today the game is still limited to certain countries. I am curious what will happen when this game will be available world-wide world… With such a user growth it might be the next big thing.

What defines me is a mix of curiosity combined with a bit of of fun. I believe that the spatial data and the technologies associated with them are what I'm looking for. Fortunately for us, we live in times where the exchange of digital information blossoming before our eyes. That is why, I am here with you, sharing my fascination with all that is "geo", because I know that the interaction with others is what shapes me every day.


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