Pokémon GO - What is it?

Last night at Rotary a number of us were fascinated with Misty Pryor and the enjoyment she was getting with playing Pokémon GO. Quite a few of us had heard about the game but have no idea on what or how the game is played. I found the following on the web, I am still confused but have a deeper understanding now.


Why is everyone talking about Pokémon GO?

You’ve probably heard talk in the news (or from younger family members) about Pokémon GO. But what exactly is it and, what’s all the fuss about?

The game becoming a worldwide obsession 
Pokémon GO is a game that you can download as a free app for your smart phone or tablet. It’s not the first Pokémon game ever released – the world was first introduced to the cartoon critters back in 1996 and there have been many Pokémon games since then. But what makes Pokémon GO so special is that it’s the first Pokémon game to use augmented reality.


So, what is augmented reality? 
Augmented reality is an exciting fusion of the real world with the digital world. In Pokémon GO that means players (known as trainers) see the real world through their device’s screen - like they do when they’re taking photographs - but they also see fictional Pokémon monsters too.

Gameplay is simple in Pokémon GO. Your job as a Pokémon trainer is to walk around and find a Pokémon then hold your phone in front of you and swipe your finger or thumb at the Pokémon to throw a Poké Ball and catch it inside.

Once you’ve caught them, you can train them up by feeding them ‘candies’ to make them stronger. Then you can use your Pokémon in Pokémon battles to win glory at points of interest called Pokémon gyms which are the in-game representations of real life landmarks such as train stations, parks, ferry stops and restaurants.

There are some fierce Pokémon battles raging at gyms over well-known landmarks right now. In Australia, The Sydney Opera House is one of them, while in the US Pokémon players are battling it out for control of the prestigious White House fountain gym in Washington DC.

Catching an 'Evee' Pokemon in Pokemon Go

Why are Pokémon GO players everywhere? 
Players have to keep a constant lookout for when Pokémon will appear. The game uses your devices’ GPS signal to track your location and an algorithm to randomly place these mini monsters in the game environment around you. The critters can show up anywhere and at any time.

A bat-like Zubat could be flying above your toaster in your kitchen at home. A furry Eevee might be waiting at the bus stop down the road – Pokémon can even show up in the most unlikely places like in the toilet, your local church, or neighbourhood police station.

As well as catching Pokémon you can also pick up Pokémon eggs. The only way to hatch an egg is to walk. Some eggs require you to walk 5km. It’s no wonder the game has been praised for getting couch potatoes outside and active, albeit with their eyes glued to their phones.

Why some Pokémon GO players are catching more than they bargained for 
‘Gotta catch ‘em all’ is the catch cry for Pokémon games and collecting all 150 Pokémon is part of the huge appeal of the game. It’s also one of the reasons Pokémon trainers have been catching more than just Pokémon, as they explore areas they might never have had any reason to go before.

Despite an in-game warning to ‘be aware of your surroundings at all times,’ there have been some reports of players bumping into things and becoming injured. Other reports are of players being lured to places and robbed or attacked. There are even a few reports of players finding dead bodies.

The Los Angeles Times reported the case of three women playing Pokémon GO who stumbled on the body of a man found lying in bushes in Marian Bear Memorial Park, a park in the City of San Diego, California.

A pidgey Pokemon appearing in a park

Who’s behind the game? 
It’s made by developer Niantic Labs and published by Tokyo based games publisher The Pokémon Co. It launched in Australia, New Zealand and in the US on the 6th July 2016 and since then thousands of gamers of all ages have begun playing. It has proven so popular that it’s currently the number one ranking free downloaded title on iTunes. On July 13, it almost overtook Twitter in daily active users when the game reached 21 million users.

But players aren’t the only winners. Games publisher Nintendo looks likely to bag a tidy sum thanks to the game’s immense popularity and since the company is part owner in Pokémon GO’s parent company, The Pokémon Co.

Revenue from in-app purchases has already reached US $14 million dollars. Investors too were so excited that just a week after the game’s release Nintendo’s share price soared, up almost 25 per cent. It’s expected that the game will make the company more than US $30 million dollars in revenue just this year.