The newest video game phenomenon – Pokémon Go – actually began as an April Fool’s Day joke in 2014 when Google invited users to capture the Pokémon monsters within Google Maps. While that was a brief episode, it provided the basis for the mobile game topping the world’s charts this summer.
There were already millions of Pokémon fans who were familiar with the playing cards, video games, and cartoon shows. This new version of the game uses “augmented reality” in which digital objects are imposed on our physical world. The game uses an app on smart phones to get players moving in the real world to find characters around the globe. Players capture Pokémon characters that pop up at random on the map. Capturing the monsters is simple – point the phone camera and toss “Poké Balls” until the monster is overcome.
Pokémon Go gets people up on their feet and moving throughout neighborhoods – quite a bit different from the usual sort of video games that keeps players glued to sofas and screens inside homes. The game is played around the world and has tens of millions of players already.
The download is free, but players can buy items that make it easier to find and capture Pokémon. Businesses are also part of the action. Businesses can become sponsored locations, purchasing Lure Modules to encourage customers to come into the store and catch Pokémon characters, and make new friends in the process.
So, why are you still just sitting here? Go catch Pokémon and play!
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- First, poll students to see if they played Pokémon as a kid?
- Next, ask students if they play Pokémon Go? What has been their experience playing it?
- Bring up the company Web site: http://www.pokemon.com/us/pokemon-video-games/pokemon-go/
- Show a video about the game: https://youtu.be/SWtDeeXtMZM
- Discuss the product life cycle stages. What stage is the card Pokémon game in? What stage is Pokémon Go in?
- Have students identify how other old games could be revamped to use new technologies such as augmented reality.
- Discuss how businesses can use the game to increase traffic and sales.
Source: Bloomberg News, New York Times, Ad Age Daily, other news sources