Explainer: What you need to know about Pokémon Go

Maxine Blane

Now that the wait is over for the much-awaited Pokémon Go in Scotland, 16-year-old Alisha Malik explains the craze taking the country by storm

HAVE you suddenly noticed everyone talking about Pokémon Go? Do you have no idea what it is? Fear not, CommonSpace is here to explain. 

On Thursday, the already worldwide loved phenomenon was released in Scotland after becoming an overwhelming success in the US, so now’s as good a time as any to find out what it is. We’ve a feeling we’ll all be hearing a lot more about it.

What is Pokémon Go?

Initially the concept of Pokémon Go was introduced as a 2014 April Fools’ Day prank by Google Maps and received considerable attention. Two years later and the prank has now contributed £9bn to Nintendo’s value in less than a week and has produced extraordinary levels of demand.

Pokémon Go combines the virtual world with reality, allowing users to play in countless locations globally: in your house, at work; anywhere. Many individuals are devoting five to six hours easily in order to catch Pokémon, while others have even quit their jobs for the game.

Pokémon Go requires access to the camera on a user’s phone in order to capture their live surroundings. That footage is then used to display Pokémon digitally on the phone. This has been a unique idea for Pokémon as it is the brand’s first game created for smartphone users, whereas previously its games were console based before developing into trading cards, toys, cartoons and comics as the franchise expanded.

How do you play?

To start playing, you can download the app on Apple and Android from the App Store and Play Store. The goal of the game as the slogan suggests is to “catch ‘em all”, where users, known as ‘trainers’, must locate Pokémon and capture them. However, this involves physically getting up and heading out into the real world in order to locate the variety of Pokémon – some more rare than others – in real locations using GPS. Many individuals have been so ambitious as to bear with the consequences of being pulled over after driving around while on their phone to locate special Pokémon. Others are willing to drive Pokémon Go players at an hourly rate.

Additionally, Pokémon Go has ‘gyms’ in the game where you can battle other Pokémon, or alternatively you can meet other users at PokéStops where you can obtain free item to help you progress in the game. This has encouraged users to not just fulfil their passion for the game but to socialise and interact with others while burning off those extra few calories they weren’t otherwise motivated to.

How popular is it?

Pokémon Go has already made a strong impact and has stimulated Nintendo’s sales by more than 50 per cent since its release. The daily active users of Pokémon Go on Android rapidly escalated to 11 million after only five days of its release according to www.surveymonkey.com, with the prediction that it will surpass Google Maps and even Snapchat soon. Pokémon Go has dominated Google Play Games/Adventure category in Canada, France, Germany and UK as shown in www.similarweb.com, and due to its intense demand is anticipated to continue to soar.

Twenty years since its creation, Pokémon is still a hot topic on everyone’s mouths and has introduced an astounding and enticing app of 2016. Pokémon Go has addicted generations, influencing people all over the world to participate and until the next hot app, will likely continue to top charts globally.

But one last work of advice: if you are playing the game, authorities are advising players to remain careful in order to prevent accidents occurring under the enthusiasm of the game. You’ve been warned.

Picture courtesy of Eduardo Woo

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