Today, I would like to discuss Pokemon Go, the extremely popular game that has broken many records since its official launch early this summer—and of which I myself am a player. Before discussing the impact of Pokemon Go on the future of augmented reality further, let’s start with some data. Pokemon Go was downloaded more in its first week than any application in the history of the Apple Store. By 11 July, 10.8% of Android phone users in the US, and between 15 and 16% in Australia and New Zealand, had installed the app, with about 50% of users using the app daily. On the same date in Europe, the installation rate was between 4 and 7%.
It only took 19 days for Pokemon Go to go beyond the symbolic milestone of 50 million downloads, before passing the 100 million downloads bar on 1 August. Today, the application has about 20 million unique daily users, for a revenue of US$10 million per day. It is also interesting to note that 71% of players are between 18 and 50 years old and therefore no longer children, unlike the numbers usually observed when talking about games.
Pokemon Go, a skillfully orchestrated success
Pokemon Go is a global success, similar to the original Pokemon phenomenon. It is the first concrete illustration of the emergence of augmented reality in our daily lives.
The app’s success is based on the addition of a playful element in everyday life, with the assumption that everyone loves to play. The challenge here is not to promote a service related to a product, but to create a service integrated in daily life, related to mobility, and to make it a game.
Pokemon Go takes advantage of a recognised phenomena: people’s tendency to stare at their phone while walking; the common practice, that of going from one point to the other in the city on foot; and of the geocaching opportunities, which involve using the existing urban space to hide (and find) objects. These three elements create a unique immersive experience, while generating revenue.
There is no real utility to Pokemon Go — its success depends entirely on creating emotions through this unique experience. We want to share the appearance of a Dragonite in our living room, or to win this rare and sought-after Pokemon.
The future of augmented reality, and its use by brands
This successful unified experience combines physical and digital on a scale never seen before. This is not the first time augmented reality has been used by brands. Real estate agencies have already successfully used it to provide information on flats when we walk around the city, and museums have used it to provide additional interactive information on certain paintings.
However, these uses answer immediate needs for a specific use, and do not fit into people’s everyday lives. In contrast, Pokemon Go answers the primary and daily need to play, which is not linked to a specific need, so has a target much greater than a brand’s.
Although interest in the game is bound to decrease over time, it has changed brands’ perception of augmented reality games. Once perceived as unattractive because reserved for kids, we realise now that it’s is a major tool to create a “phygital” experience, create links and relationships, but also generate income.
What about you, have you tested Pokemon Go? What do you think of the emergence of augmented reality in our daily lives? Feel free to give your opinion in the comments!