“Gotta catch ‘em all” is the challenge Nintendo customers have in the new augmented reality gaming experience, Pokémon GO. Everywhere you look there are hubs of gamers with phones in front of their faces, collecting Pokémon. Pokémon GO is not only changing the way that customers interact with Nintendo as a company, but the way that companies are marketing to customers throughout the world.
Pikachu couldn’t have predicted how electric this app would be. Who knew augmented reality could get couch potatoes, celebrities, homebodies, hipsters, football players, out socializing and experiencing Pokémon together? According to Forbes, Pokémon Go is about to surpass Twitter in daily active users. Its average user time is twice that of Snapchat and Instagram. According to Nasdaq, Pokémon GO already has 12 million downloads worldwide. This surge has made Pokémon GO an overnight sensation, rising to this 12 million downloads and users in just 3 days.
For those of you new to the Pokémon GO space, Pokémon GO utilizes the GPS and camera on your phone to turn reality into grounds for catching and hunting down the elusive Pokémon creatures. The app also converts local businesses and other noteworthy locations (virtually) into what are called Pokémon Gyms and PokéStops. Here the players can stock up on items like PokéBalls and battle other Pokémon teams.
Pokémon GO users experience Nintendo and the Pokémon brand in ways they never have before–seeing new places and interacting with their reality as well as virtual reality in a way that has changed the game.
Pokémon GO players can be seen by many different eyes as many different things. For example, by other players, competition. By commuters, traffic hazards. By Nintendo, the biggest brand advocacy group since Mario Kart. And by businesses, dollar signs. Many Pokémon centers in the game are placed in downtown areas of cities. It’s as if all of consumerism is coming outside again.
“Gotta catch ‘em all”
Businesses are catching onto this hot way to create traffic in their stores. A local indie clothing store placed this sign outside of their store challenging shoppers to “Catch ‘em all in style!” This is a positive way to create a customer experience and also help gamers to advance in the game. In many cities and towns, Pokémon GO has provided traffic like never before. As misfortune would have it, businesses cannot apply to become PokéStops or Pokémon Gyms. Locations are predetermined by the developer, Niantic Labs using a private algorithm and Google Maps.
While not every Main Street shop will be as lucky as the ones chosen as PokéStops or Pokémon Gyms, this may not be the last chance at their piece of the augmented reality pie. Be it the first few days in a quick-burning fire bound to fizzle out soon, or the next long-standing household app, Pokémon GO is certainly only the first of many apps to utilize augmented reality. Going outside with a phone may never be the same. Stay savvy, Pokémon Masters. And to those lucky enough to have PokéStops or Pokémon Gyms in your business or neighborhood, take good care of your Pokémon community by focusing on the customer experience. Go catch “all” those customers.