Pokèmon were first imagined in 1989 by Satoshi Tajiri when the Nintendo Gameboy was also invented. The name Pokèmon comes from the Japanese brand Pocket Monsters (PokettoMonsutā).
Any 90’s kid knows this game from getting either Red, Yellow or Blue game cartridge for their Gameboy. Or maybe you played the card game and winning the epic Mewtwo in a battle with your friends at recess was your jam. Either way, Pokèmon was a game that everyone would play and talk about.
Fast forward nearly over 25 years to 2016.
Pokèmon Go is the new rage with an added twist. Rather than move your thumbs to guide a digital character across the map, you now have to physically move around to catch ’em all. Your world is your map.
I even jokingly posted this on Facebook:
For real though, the craze has gone so mainstream that I’ve seen people catching Pokèmon while on vacation in Europe, at the gym, while out at the bar and even on the subway (thanks Joobs for that one!). In fact, the app has become so popular that it’s about to surpass the DAU’s of Twitter for the Android platform!
You’re probably asking why I’m writing about this. I asked myself the same question before realizing that there is so much opportunity for small, local businesses to take advantage of it.
- Fitness centers, gyms, trainers can attract people by creating classes specifically geared around finding Pokèmon. What’s better for fitness than getting out and taking a walk or a hike?
- F&B businesses can offer incentives for patrons to come in and access their Pokèmon, at the same time insuring they actually spend money.
- How about a grocery store meetup? (or a meetup of any kind)
How are some businesses currently handling the craze? Check out this photo below:
Here’s a PokèGym in Chicago. As you can see, there are plenty of people working out their trainer skills here.
One thing businesses currently cannot do is apply to become a PokeStop or PokeGym. PokeStops and PokeGyms are pre-determined by the developer, Niantic Labs, using an algorithm, likely known by like, three people. This looks like it could be an easy opportunity for Niantic Labs to make money, aside from obvious advertising opportunities.
However, there’s an opportunity! Pokèmon Go has an in-game item called a “Lure” which attracts Pokémon to a specific PokèStop for 30 minutes. Savvy business owners will buy one, and increase the foot traffic near their store during that period of time. How? Because anyone in the area can see the Pokèmon that are coming out of the woodwork!
What we know so far is that people are actually getting up off the couch and out and about. What’s really cool is that people are meeting and talking, you know, like the old days. Personally, I’ve never seen an app cover so much demographic ground. From 8-10 year olds all the way up to 50+ demographic. That is the power we are seeing here. The ability to bring those age demographics together and talking to one another.
People are even discovering places in their city that they’ve never even known existed!
I’ve learned more about my city in the past 2 days from #PokemonGo than I have in the past 10 years combined!
— Tyler Sederwall (@TylerSederwall) July 10, 2016
No one knows how long this Pokèmon Go craze will last. I’m guessing longer than most game crazes because it’s doing something that no other game has been able to do. One thing I do know is that the hype and excitement behind this app should have game makers looking for new opportunities.
Speaking of new opportunities, I’ll leave this one here:
dear nintendo, please put super rare pokemon at polling places this november
— Kris Straub (@krisstraub) July 11, 2016
Are you playing Pokèmon Go? What do you think about the app? Will it stick around? Let me know your thoughts below.