Pokémon Go — Changing The Way We Play Games on Mobile *Updated*

Pokémon Go — Changing The Way We Play Games on Mobile *Updated*

A Bold Statement I Know, But allow Me to Explain

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I have never felt a great deal of excitement about mobile games, that is not to say I haven’t enjoyed or appreciated them, for the most part mobile games have always been something that I play in small breaks in my daily schedule such as a quick puzzle while waiting for the kettle boil or a few minutes of a fight game while my Uber arrives. But then Ingress arrived, it sounded great in concept and I’m sure for many it was great in reality, alas my interest wained when up receiving my invite I discovered no portals anywhere in my rural hometown. Years later Niantic has grown, learnt, and now their second game Pokemon Go has arrived.

GM_20160709_235821The game has potential that few apps reach, Niantic have taken a revolutionary game (like it or not, you have to admire the work and technology that went into the game) like Ingress and combined it with a global band that many children and adults alike can appreciate. Even though the app is still not officially out in the UK you don’t have to spend long in a larger town or city to notice people playing or discussing the game and that in itself is something amazing as players leave their houses and explore parts of their towns that they have never been to before highlight places of interest and encouraged by in-game rewards in the form of Pokemon eggs for walking (the rarer eggs take up to 10km to hatch).

It has not all been plain sailing for the game, despite the staggered roll out many users sideloaded the app (myself included) to gain early access. This may have contributed to the widespread server issues as Niantic saw significantly more traffic than they presumably had planned for. It is expected that in the coming days and weeks these will cease to be an issue. Given that the game hasn’t even fully rolled out yet some bugs are excusable of course and after this weekend’s crippling server issues where the game has been going down for hours at a time it is sometimes hard to tell whether an issue is with the game or the intense load on the server, as users have been left unable to access gym battles or catch Pokemon at times.

Server issues and other bizarre news such as users finding dead bodies and malicious copies of the APK aside, the sense of community around the game is becoming incredible as people begin organising meet-ups, and socialise with new people. It was highly amusing to observe the following conversation earlier today.

Father: “Can you put that damn game away!”
Child: “But Dad! There’s a Ponyta!”
Man walking past: “A Ponyta! Thanks kid!” *pulls out phone*

For those who haven’t had the chance to play yet, the game is simple. Like the other Pokemon games before it, after creating your character you are given the choice of 1 of the original 4 Pokemon although some reports are surfacing that you can also take a Pikachu thanks to an easter egg. After this, you are free to explore the world as you like. Whether you spend your time leveling up your Pokemon gyms, farming items at Pokestops or simply searching for the full 150, they all help you progress.

As the game is released in more countries and continues to expand, it will be interesting to see where it all ends, while it is possible that a year from now the game has faded in popularity as so many do, but the opposite is also possible and if the game continues to receive updates and additional content we may see the app become one of the go-to apps for mobile devices. Given the flood of imitation games likely to hit Google Play in the coming months the augmented reality game could become a cornerstone of the Play Store. If you have an afternoon spare, grab the app, grab some friends and take a walk. You’d be surprised what you find in and around the area you live in.

Update

The numbers for Pokemon Go have started coming in, at its current growth it will surpass Twitter for users shortly

Screenshot 2016-07-11 at 16.34.54

Have you played yet? Leave a pic of your best Pokemon in the comments below!

Need the APK? You can get it from XDA Labs here.