Whether you’re a hardcore gamer or not, you’ve most likely heard about Pokémon Go in the past few days. Assuming that you use the internet, which obviously you do because you are reading this article. Pokémon Go tales and news have been overflowing the web since it was released earlier this month. And you might be wondering why. In this article we are going to construct a non-complicated description of Pokémon Go. the reason why almost everyone is talking about it, along with some of the pros and cons which come side by side with the game’s usage.
“Pokémon? Some sort of a cartoon my kids watch? I don’t know!”
In case you do not know what Pokémon is still, worry not. You’re not the only one. In fact, most people that I know who were grown ups in the the late half of the 1990s or prior to that have little or no clue about the Pokémon concept. So, Pokémon is a franchise of media established in 1995. The media includes animated series, films, video games, and other products. The concept is simple. People are living in an alternate universe full of creatures known as “Pokémon”. Those creatures resemble exotic animals and can be trained to battle one another as a form of sport. You can read more here.
Since the concept was developed, Pokémon has attracted many fans. Particularly millennials who were children and teenagers around the mid 1990s. During the past couple of years or so, the concept of Augmented Reality (AR) has been picking up rapidly. The reason is most likely due to the recent availability of technologies which can be used to finally produce the VR and AR concepts people have always imagined. Again, in case you are clueless about augmented reality, worry not because you are not the only one.
Augmented Reality is a form of Virtual Reality which, as the name suggests, ‘adds’ digital elements to the physical world which can be access through special goggles. However, the concept has reached smartphones as well by using special software along with the phone camera in order to create the AR experience where you can see and interact with virtual elements in the real world using your phone’s screen. Pretty cool yeah?
Pokémon was a perfect candidate to use as a platform to test that concept for multiple reasons. Firstly, Pokémon are supposed to be caught by a device called a “Pokéball” which has the technology to convert Pokémon into energy and capture them. A relatively similar process to the conversion of physical objects to digital data which is still science fiction. However, the development of AR has made it possible to simulate the process in a closer manner than ever. Allowing players to hunt and capture Pokémon in a video game which mixes the real world with the virtual one. Secondly, Pokémon already has a large fan base. Which means there is virtually no need whatsoever to spend a lot of time and resources to promote the game. And thirdly, a significant percentage of the audience already own the platform to use to play the game, which is the smartphone.
Pokémon Go is the latest establishment of the Pokémon franchise aimed towards mobile devices. In the game, you are basically a Pokémon player who roams around collecting Pokémon. Except, unlike a traditional video game, this is done partly in the physical world. The technology behind it is quite simple. Pokémon are created as digital data and places on a map as locations. Your phone uses GPS signal to define your location in contrast to the locations of Pokémon nearby. When you find a Pokémon, you enter a play mode where you have to throw Pokéballs in order to catch the Pokémon which gets added to your collection. There are supposedly additional ways to compete and other things to collect which I am still in the process of discovering.
Pokémon Go demonstrates new ways to play video games by mixing the digital world with the real one. A concept that is likely to define the next era of video gaming. Pokémon go also encourages physical fitness since the player has to walk in order to find and collect their precious Pokémon. Last but not least, engaging youth in the concept of AR early can motivate them into joining the industry and help to accomplish even more.
As cool of a concept Pokémon Go makes, it also imposes some risk. One of them is to create disorientation and vulnerability by distracting the player from their surroundings which may create a life threatening hazard. It can also put participants under the risk of being hijacked by exposing their location data to potential adversaries such as hackers and kidnappers.
Pokémon Go is an awesome demonstration of future entertainment. It motivates players to be more active and even more creative and may help producing a new generation of developers. But just like most cool concepts, players may experience and/or cause hazards. Which summons up the point of responsibility and fair play. Pokémon Go might be something you want to get into and you may end up liking. Just don’t let it get in the way of your safety and others’.
Play safe kids!