Screenshot of Pokemon GO Pikachu

Pokemon Go is the game that everyone is talking about these days and for a good reason. People of all ages have jumped on the bandwagon and immediately fell in love with the augmented reality video game. Niantic took its sweet time with the development of this game, but it definitely paid off. Whether they choose to play on Android and iOS powered devices or acquire the Pokemon GO Plus wearable device, players seem to be hopelessly hooked

What do the numbers tell us about Pokemon Go?

It’s easy to get the wrong impression when you are surrounded by enthusiastic people and that is exactly how Pokemon Go players behave. The stampede started immediately after players installed the app on their mobile devices. Finding the elusive creatures, collecting, trading and battling them unlocked unimaginable energy resources. Video game fans that couldn’t be dragged out of their homes left on their own volition and wouldn’t go back. It looks like a dream come true for parents everywhere, but is it?

Screenshot of Pokemon GO Trading
Screenshot of Pokemon GO Trading

A few days after the official release in the United States, the app has surpassed Tinder in popularity. The popular dating application is now installed on fewer Android devices than Pokemon Go and this is just the beginning. Even the least optimistic forecasts indicate that WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat will be surpassed soon enough and Twitter will follow. The downside of having such a popular app is that it crashes more often than expected, due to heavy traffic.

Niantic was forced to slow down the international rollout to address these problems and keep the game running smoothly. Officially, Pokemon Go can only be played in the United States, New Zealand and Australia. Those who were hell-bent on playing the game found ways around these restrictions and downloaded the app anyway. There is no stopping to this game and it comes as no surprise that Nintendo plans on launching more smartphone friendly games by the end of the year.

An April Fools' Day joke turns serious

Few of those who currently play Pokemon Go remember the April Fools' Day joke made by Google back in 2014. The search engine giant released a video in partnership with Niantic Labs announcing the immediate release of Pokémon Masters. The tongue-in-cheek humor of that short video was much appreciated by Pokémon fans and Google Maps users alike. The positive reaction generated by the video prompted Niantic to contemplate the possibility of developing such a game.

The initial concerns that there might not be a market for such a video game were quickly put to rest. Ingress set the bar high for augmented reality video game and as a result provided developers with the impetus to persevere. Those who are skeptical about ability of a video game to lure people out of their homes to play have been reduced to silence. Pokemon Go players are promised to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Even the bad guys took notice and some went as far as to lure victims to deserted areas and rob them. There are other dangers associated to playing Pokemon Go, as some people get distracted and suffer injuries. Searching for the elusive creatures while crossing the road or driving, is also a recipe for disaster. Social media is full of posts depicting players doing such dangerous stuff in their quest to catch them all.

Nintendo has struck gold with Pokemon Go

Every serious business is concerned about the return on investment and Nintendo isn’t any different. However, they didn’t expect immediate gratification and few could predict the manner in which the stock would perform. The Pokemon Go hype prompted Nintendo's stock to increase by more than 60% in the wake of the videogame’s released. The sky seems to be the limit and for the first time in many years, the company looks like a serious contender to Microsoft and Sony.

Quantifying enthusiasm is difficult, but markets always react to hyped products and Pokemon Go is a big thing now. The app is the most downloaded one on App Store and Play Store and more people get it every day. It definitely helps that the game is free and Nintendo found other ways to generate revenue. Those who choose to buy additional items pay real currency, but the gaming experience is just as enjoyable for free. The Pokemon Go Plus wearable devices will be available for interested buyers soon enough.

The company has other ideas about how to monetize the game and tap into all the hype surrounding it. The concept of sponsored locations is gaining ground and there are plenty of companies willing to pay hefty amounts. These businesses are the ones that understood the advantages of driving foot traffic to their land-based venues. As a result Nintendo will probably add these locations to the virtual game board and hide rare Pokémon close by.

This wouldn’t be the first time something like this happens, since Ingress was also used to promote various brands. Some businesses took advantage of the Pokemon Go hype by placing signs outside that inform players of the presence of rare Pokémon. It’s hard to think of a more effective and less expensive way of lure players in.