So, Pokémon Go: How many New World Notes readers are already playing? Published to smartphone app stores less than 7 days ago, it's already more popular on Android than Twitter or even Tinder. I.E., More people are now looking for virtual monsters than actual hookups. (Or to put it another way, more prefer Pokémon Go than go poke a man.)
Converting the real world around you into a parallel, invisible world inhabited by magical creatures you can locate, spot, and catch, you play it with a customizable avatar, and interact, collaborate, or compete with other players in the real world. So basically, Pokémon Go is the first augmented reality MMO to become truly massive -- far larger than Ingress, another AR MMO from Niantic, which also developed Pokémon Go. In fact, for anyone who's played the many other smartphone AR games that have come and go, Pokémon Go will seem pretty damn simple.
So why is it succeeding so well? That also seems pretty damn simple to explain:
Pokémon is a massive massive brand for millennials who grew up on the TV show & earlier iterations of the game as kids (the larger franchise is exactly 20 years old) and now own smartphones. There hasn't been as huge a franchise linked to an AR game before, nor such a perfect fit - "catch them all" has been Pokémon's tag line/game mechanic for decades, which practically demands an AR implementation.
If that's right, that also defines the limitations of AR MMOs as a genre. (And you know dozens of games will try to compare Pokémon Go's success.) To succeed in a truly massive way, the game needs to be linked with a massive, well-established brand that has "fantastic, invisible parallel world" integrated into its branding. From where I sit, only the Harry Potter franchise could qualify there. But to even become an established genre, Pokémon Go has to prove it can become a feature-rich MMO that users don't discard in a few weeks as a fad. We're counting on you, Pikachu!
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