Explaining The Pokemon Go Phenomenon

Categories Lifestyle


Pokemon is back, in a big way, simply by using some of the basic functions of your smartphone.

It’s the app that’s gone straight to the top of the downloads chart and is suddenly being used everywhere by children and adults alike. It’s even poised to take over Twitter in terms of active daily users.

Using your smartphone’s GPS capability and camera, Pokemon Go allows players to ‘capture’ monsters from the Japanese cartoon franchise at public landmarks and in city streets, as well as secure virtual loot and collectible characters.

Free to download on Android and iOS, the app makes Pokémon “appear” around you (on your phone screen) so you can go and catch them. As you move, different and more types of Pokémon  appear depending on where and when you’re in a certain place.

A phenomenon of the early 1990s, many see Pokemon Go as the manifestation of the game’s original spirit, where ‘trainers’ travelled around the globe trying to tame the exotic monsters – rats, snakes, dragons, dinosaurs, birds, etc – and manipulate them to fight each other. The idea was to collect all of the original 151 virtual creatures, and while Pokemon has since evolved to include more than 700 characters, only the original 151 are available in Pokemon Go.

What’s more, the game is now cross-generational. Many of those who loved the first generation of Pokemon are now parents themselves and are partnering with their children in parks to ‘catch’ Pokemon. You can also be part of a team and as the New York Times recently reported, some bars and other retail concerns are offering ‘discounts’ to Pokemon players on certain teams.

The app may be free but someone, somewhere (the telcos?) must be making a killing on this, no?