Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably seen screenshots of people playing Pokémon Go, a new augmented reality game released by Niantic (an internal startup at Google). The game uses GPS and AR technology to encourage users to get up, explore their communities, and find the Pokémon hidden about. What started out as an April Fool’s Prank only a few years ago has now become the most downloaded and profitable mobile app in the U.S.
Like established smartphone games like Clash of Clans and The Simpsons: Tapped Out, Pokémon Go is free to play, but strongly suggests that you pay money to get the necessary upgrades to be competitive. In just 24 hours, it’s already in the top 30 grossing apps of all time, and it is number one downloaded app on the app store now. The game has achieved all of this due to Pokémon’s long established brand as an addictive handheld game. The game has also sparked a feeling of nostalgia for former players whose first major decision was choosing between Bulbasaur, Charmander, or Squirtle. People who haven’t been played Pokémon in years are now glued to their smartphones, trekking all over their community, and catching their old, favorite Pokémon.
Due to the game’s AR technology, players have found Pokemon in the strangest places, like churches, toilets, and even strip clubs! In fact, one player in Australia was lead to a local police station, which have caused police all over the world to remind people to be wary of their surroundings when playing.
In just a day, Pokemon Go has become not only the most talked about app, but most talked about source of entertainment. There can no longer be any doubt about the power that our smartphones have on the masses, and it’s going to be very interesting how the smartphone continues to push the envelope on technology.