Pokemon Go: The Emergence of Augmented Reality in our Daily Lives

Mobile Marketing

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!

Mobile Marketing
Olivier Binisti

Posted on 09-05-2016

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