|Publisher||The Pokémon Company|
|Device||All iOS and Android Devices|
|Operating System||iOS, Android|
|Game Mode||Single Player, Multiplayer|
|Release Date||July 6, 2016|
|Price||Free with microtransactions|
A Catch of Success with "Pokémon Go"
By Paulo Pacheco on July 14, 2016
Pokémon GO has undoubtedly been a success since its launch on July 6, 2016. A wide phenomenon that still has to have a worldwide release, but that nevertheless already captured the interest of millions of people. From the beginnings of the franchise created by Satoshi Tajiri – inspired by his childhood hobby of insect collecting – in the early 90’s, to its recent incarnation on the smartphones, there seems to be no stopping to this longtime series, even if there have been a few bumps in the road for the latest game app.
Described in the official Pokémon Go website as a 'Real World Adventure', the augmented reality game was originally launched in three countries: the USA, Australia, and New Zealand. It quickly increased in popularity and became viral. It’s the fastest mobile game ever to reach No. 1 , and it has become the biggest mobile game in US history, attracting just under 21 million daily active users. If this trend continues, it could even surpass the number of daily active users of Snapchat and Google Maps on Android.
The massive success brought, inevitably, an increase in Nintendo’s shares value. Viral means good business, and App Annie communications boss Fabien Pierre-Nicolas has estimated that Pokémon GO could be generating over $1 billion of net revenue for Niantic Labs, the game’s developer . All of this with an official release in only three countries. A phased roll-out launch has begun in Europe, with the release of the app in Germany on the 13th and the United Kingdom on the 14th of July. Other countries are expected to follow in the coming days or weeks  .
Even though a lot of the focus has been on Nintendo and the boost in the share value of the company, we must not forget that this is a joint venture between The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and Niantic (with Google also in the mix, since Niantic was founded as an internal Google startup ). But even if Nintendo has only a minority stake in Pokémon GO, the success of the game app means exposure for the Japanese video game company, something much needed since many have viewed Nintendo to be on the decline after the success of the Wii .
The game takes its foundations from another creation of Niantic: Ingress. It blends real-world exploration with a digital overlay through the use of geo-localization and camera functions on the smartphone to superimpose images of Pokémon to be captured. Its success can be attributed to this blend of the virtual and the real, the geo-location and, of course, the massive appeal of the Pokémon brand. The allure of hunting down and collecting Pokémon is still high http://www.themarysue.com/pokemon-go-mental-health/</ref>.
People are also moving, gathering, and exploring the outside due to the game app. There have been anecdotal reports that the game is helping people with depression, anxiety and agoraphobia to leave the house, helping them by providing the necessary motivation to overcome their conditions . It’s not a cure and, as previously stated, these health benefits are only anecdotal, but it’s an example of how powerful game design can be by providing a system of motivation and rewards. The fact is that walking and spending more time outdoors are good for you  , and it seems that it’s something that Pokémon GO is making a lot of people do.
There have been problems too, since the recent release of the game. Problems with the servers going down due to the overflow of players (which even caused a delay in the worldwide release of the app), bugs, and a myriad of strange occurrences, like the discovery of a dead body by a teenager while playing the game   . Recently, there have also been concerns over privacy. The Democratic senator Al Franken has even written a letter to Niantic Labs, expressing his worries about the collecting, use, and sharing of the users’ personal information by the company  .
These troubles don’t seem to be affecting the interest in the game, although questions remain if it’s going to keep the momentum or fade away like so many other apps. An example closer to Nintendo is that of Miitomo that had early success but could not sustain it  . With the full release of Pokémon GO throughout the world, we will see if the success is just due to the novelty of it or if the game is indeed well designed and capable of capturing the attention and dedication of players for a long time.
A game that was originally inspired by the natural fauna, by being outdoors and exploring a world filled with novel and wonderful creatures has now come full circle, inviting people to explore their surroundings and its wonders, by merging the real world with the digital creation of the pocket monsters. Whatever the future holds, the impact of Pokémon in the gaming culture is undeniable.