Pokemon GO: More than Just a Game

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It has officially been a week since Pokemon GO was released upon the UK and dominated the internet, and when I say dominated, I truly mean it. Today is the first day in the 7 days it’s been since the release that I’ve not seen it trending on Twitter. It trended religiously for 6 entire days. Now sure, Pokemon as a brand is at a point where it doesn’t need much marketing, the name carries itself. But can you name all the Pokemon games that have been released in the past 5 years? Probably not. I’ll bet, however, that the word Pokemon GO is embedded so deep into your brain that you find yourself humming the theme tune and whispering that you’ve “gotta catch ’em all” in your sleep. So what effect has it had on the world and how? Let’s take a look.

 

Taking over the internet

Ok, so we already mentioned how heavily it trended. But why was it literally everywhere?! Influencer marketing is a ploy many brands are choosing now, and forking out thousands for. Pokemon GO however didn’t have to spend a penny. Just look at a few search results for “Pokemon GO” on YouTube…

Look at those view counts. Influential channels are making content based around the game without being prompted to. It’s the ‘thing’ to make a video about right now. Influencers are gaining more than their average amount of views for doing it and in turn are spreading the word to millions. It’s a massive snowball of marketing. Well played Nianco, well played.

It’s not just the YouTubers and the Instagrammers of the world that won’t stop talking about it however. Every major online press outlet is currently milking it dry. Metro alone have 10 entire pages of blogs to do with the biggest craze of 2016 and it comes at no surprise looking at the kind of figures blogs about the pocket monsters are driving with BuzzSumo showing that the two most popular posts on the subject have racked up over a quarter of a million shares each!

As if all of this wasn’t enough, have you ever been on Twitter when the servers are down? Little bit of advice, don’t.

 

Social engagement… no, like actual social engagement

Granted, every now and again you’ll see someone on a solo Pokemon mission, but for the most part, these trainers are out in groups. People are making plans to go out on walks and bike rides in search of rare Pokemon, or desperately trying to do the final 1km of that 10km egg they want to hatch. The strangest part is, the fun never stops. I was actually out on a bike ride around East London at 1am on a Thursday night/Friday morning and came across at least 5 groups of people out doing the exact same thing.

But there’s more to it than just going out with your existing friends or bumping into people and chatting to them. Facebook groups have made a comeback. There are dedicated regional Pokemon Go groups set up all around the country for locals to join and converse with other trainers. They’re chatting about the game, sharing jokes and tips and even arranging social meet ups!

 

Gyms are good for your health – Poke gyms are better

Mental

The monster catching app has been heralded as a perfect way to combat mental illness. Now it may sound far fetched, but if you break it down and think about the key aspects of the game, it makes so much sense. Thousands of young social media users have been flooding the timelines commending Pokemon GO for helping them deal with their mental health issues. An expert in technology’s impact on human behaviour and mental health, Dr John Grohol said that the amount of people expressing the benefits the game is having is unlike anything he’s ever seen before.

It’s widely believed that the biggest challenge facing depression sufferers is a severe lack of motivation. Grohol said that if “you want to go out and get some fresh air, or even take a shower, it can be a very difficult thing to even comprehend, much less do. I think the impact of something like this, this game, can really be beneficial.”

Physical

If you’re clued up on the logistics and objectives of Pokemon Go then this section doesn’t need much explanation but for those of you who have successfully evaded the temptation to hunt around for the little digital critters we’ll sum up why it’s been so good for the physical health of so many.

There are a few things you can do in the game, it’s not all about catching Pokemon. As it was in the games, walking to hatch an egg is a concept that has made its way into Pokemon Go. The best part is, it’s monitoring how fast you’re going and won’t knock off any of the distance you have remaining on an egg if you’re going too fast. Yep… you actually need to exercise!

So, what do you reckon? Is it all going to be over in a couple of weeks or has the greatest self marketing machine since Taylor Swift set itself a long term place at the table of modern culture? We ran a small poll that saw 24% of people give it another week (it’s been 4 days and it hasn’t slowed down yet), 30% of people agree it would stick about until the end of the year, 20% state it’s here to stay, and 26% expressing their desire for a Charizard. We want one too.