What Is Pokémon GO?
By now you’re likely to have heard something about Pokémon GO or like many of us have had social media plastered with friends either wanting to know how to get the app in the UK or excitedly talking about what Pokémon they have caught. The app isn’t actually released in the UK yet, only in Australasia, America and certain European countries, yet everyone is talking about it and playing it (there are ways to get hold of it) But what actually is Pokémon GO?
Firstly, many of us will remember Pokémon from childhood. Whether that is in the form of the trading cards found up and down playgrounds, or the classic Nintendo Gameboy games which spanned a generation in various incarnations. For those who are unaware, Pokémon is centred around fictional characters which humans capture, trade and battle – the franchise started out as video games and now spans the trading cards, TV shows, films and now Pokémon GO.
Pokémon GO is a free location based augmented reality mobile app. This means the app uses your GPS location for you to explore the game world, and the augmented reality element is the superimposing of a computer generated character on an image from your camera. On 12th July 2016 Pokémon GO was getting more use than apps such as Tinder, Snapchat and Instagram – an astonishing success for an app not readily available in all country’s app stores!
The game is free to play, and you take the role of a Pokémon trainer, starting out with one of three initial Pokémon (Bulbasaur, Charmander or Squritle of course – though there is a workaround for a Pikachu at the start). Users then begin to collect all of the initial 151 Pokémon from the original games. These are found by exploring the area around you – based on google maps – your phone will vibrate when there is one nearby and you can attempt to catch it using a Pokeball. This is where augmented reality comes into play as your device’s camera is opened and the Pokémon is superimposed on the background whilst you attempt to locate and catch the creature.
Alongside this, many landmarks in the local area have a ‘pokestop’ located there – so for example a famous building or spot in a town could be a place to collect pokeballs or eggs. Furthermore players reach a certain level in the game and can choose a team. These teams use their Pokémon to capture and defend gyms where they battle other teams.
You level up and evolve the Pokémon you have by collecting candy – the easiest way to do this is catch more of the same Pokémon and then discard those of a lower level. Pokestops can also yield eggs, as can levelling up your trainer. These eggs are hatched by the user walking a specific distance – better Pokémon require a further distance to be walked.
How can Pokémon GO work with digital marketing?
Pokémon GO is a new app which has gone viral at a rate no one could have predicted. But can it work for inbound marketing? One way in which a business can potentially encourage more trade via the app is with Pokestops.
Nintendo’s mobile strategy:
2008: what’s an iPhone
2010: what’s an Android
2014: still no
2016: change how society functions
— Aaron Levie (@levie) July 11, 2016
These points for resource collection are hunted out by players of the game and often they happen to be at or near a business such as a cafe, pub, restaurant or small business such as a shop. Currently it is unclear how you elect to become a Pokestop but if you already happen to be then adding a ‘lure’ to your pokestop means that Pokémon appear at your business.
If you make it clear what your business does and what you can offer in the real world it’s an ideal way to combine online and offline marketing. Get one of your staff to invest in the game and you can purposely set lures at times you want to boost trade!
Many small businesses have already reported an increase in footfall when they have realised they are near a Pokestop! With the app in its infancy yet already causing Nintendo stock to soar, the potential for businesses to pay for the privilege of having a Pokestop or gym would be hard to turn down!
Simply showing an interest and sharing images of augmented reality where a Pokémon is in or around your business can make you look engaged and on trend.
The truth is this is a new and exciting development. At Zelst we like to keep up with the latest digital trends, in order to help our clients maximise their potential to grow. Get in touch with Zelst today and see what we can do to help you and your business make the most of the latest developments in the world of digital!