Thomas Acton
What Made Pokemon Go So Successful?
Games, digital
5 mins
As a fully fledged and licensed Pokemon Master who has completed Gen 1 and almost all of Gen 2… I wanted to explore what made Pokemon Go - The worldwide phenomenon that has amassed 5 million daily users, over 650 million downloads with around 88 billion Pokemon caught worldwide so damn successful? Is it the innovative gameplay or the driving force of the massive fan base? 

The best thing about Pokemon Go is that you are required to go outside and search for Pokemon, encouraging gamers young and old to leave the sofa to play and complete the game. No other game has been as successful as Pokemon Go at encouraging users to go and explore your surroundings to Catch Them All! Although at first this mechanic was hit with some criticism as it was leading kids into unsafe areas and strangers back gardens, just to get enough candies to evolve a darn pidgey! But Niantic takes issues like this very seriously and strongly recommend that young children should be accompanied by a parent or guardian when exploring.

Source: Product Hunt

Collecting them all can become addictive, and with the endless numbers of Pokemon still to be added to the game, if Pokemon Go can keep adding new and exciting features to further enhance gameplay, it will surely keep users coming back daily for years to come. 

Some may argue that if this were a brand no one had heard of, this game would have been viewed as tedious and boring. But with an army of childhood memories to relive whilst you’re on your own Pokemon adventure, Niantic managed to tap into the nostalgia of every Pokemon players dream of being a Pokemon master in the real world!

Source: Playing Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go/YouTube/Screenshot

For those that argue the game wouldn’t have been successful without the Pokemon brand, you just need to look at Niantics previous game “Ingress” a similar mechanic to that of Pokemon Go. It had limited success but still boasted roughly 7 million players in total. 

With the mechanics and learning from Ingress partnered with the force that is Pokemon Go, it had all the ingredients to be a world wide success and it achieved just that.

To me, Pokémon was a huge part of my child hood, and to have the chance to become a real Pokémon trainer has been a dream since I was shining a torch on my Gameboy to play past my bedtime back in the 90s. At the time it came out I was feel pretty crap and it inspired me to get outside, get fitter and happier, it really was a turning point in making me a healthier person. I hope it has had the same impact on other users and inspires children to lead a healthier active life. 

Both the nostalgia and gameplay are just as important as the other to the success of a game, but without the brand this game maybe would have been another ingress, but instead it has sparked a new generation of mobile gaming through the sheer power of nostalgia. But what’s next? Niantic plan to add trading and gym raids to increase the social aspect of Pokemon Go, as trainers can work together to complete their teams or challenge others - the long awaited legendary’s are still to come. It’s safe to say there is plenty to come that will keep all trainers on their journey to be Pokemon Masters! 

Let's hope other brands learn from Pokemon success and don't launch games like Super Mario Jump..

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