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Is Pokemon Go just a fad?

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Pokemon Go is an unprecedented phenomenon in the countries where it’s so far been released. With barely any marketing effort from Nintendo or the Pokémon Company, the game has dominated news and social media cycles and earned untold millions for its creators. Presidential candidates are telling awful mom jokes about it on the campaign trail, churches are trying to leverage the game to build their congregations, and even news headlines that have nothing to do with the game are obnoxiously leaning on its name value for clicks (“Don’t worry, this article isn’t about Pokemon Go!").

The popularity and cultural influence of the aging Pokemon franchise had been gradually waning for some years, but with the release of Pokemon Go, the critter collecting game is all anyone seems able to talk about. And, of course, developers and marketers want a piece of the action, which means, for the foreseeable future, we’ll be seeing an onslaught of copycats on digital stores and marketing campaigns that try to leverage the game’s success and influence.

But maybe Pokemon Go‘s candle is burning just a little too bright?

The Pokemon name and the concept for Pokemon Go obviously hold long-lasting universal appeal, but how the developers and producers of the title handle the inner workings of the game may determine whether Pokemon Go remains a fixture on users’ phones for years to come, or rapidly fades into obscurity.

The first strike against Pokemon Go is its simple game mechanics. Casual users are likely to quickly become bored with catching the same monsters over and over again, and the battle mechanics of the game are too simplistic to hold much interest for traditional Pokemon fans and hardcore gamers. Two of the highest grossing mobile games of all time – "Monster Strike" and "Puzzle & Dragon" – both feature similar monster collecting themes, but bolster that concept with significantly deeper strategy. Those titles also feature endlessly updated creature rosters to keep the collecting theme fresh for long-term players, while Nintendo has, at most, a stable of 729 monsters, accrued over the franchise’s decades of life, to dip into for updates ("Monster Strike," in just three years, has already introduced 2,200 monsters, as well as a steady drip of new battle mechanics).

Then there’s the controversy; Pokemon Go players have already run across dead bodies, been hit by cars, fallen off cliffs, crashed into trees, apparently been mugged while playing the game, Pokemon are appearing in inappropriate places like Holocaust museums, enormous congregations of Go players have caused a nuisance in public spaces, and the list goes on. While parents and pundits have long lamented video games as a largely sedentary hobby, how many of them now find themselves wishing gamers would just stay the hell inside? These controversies are sure to land the developers in at least a few legal quagmires, and they’ll need to address these issues with more than just a loading screen that warns to pay attention to your surroundings while playing.

Lastly, simple overexposure could spell a premature end for Pokemon Go and all its copycat hopefuls in a matter of months. It’s a good bet many of you reading this are already sick of hearing about Pokemon Go at every turn, and it’s only been a little over a week since release. Marketers are sure to leverage the game’s success and brand power in increasingly cheesy ways and, whatever your beliefs on Hillary Clinton politically, we can all agree she’s not exactly the arbiter of cool – so when she and other politicians are co-opting the brand for bad mom jokes and petty and groan-inducing attack ads, it could be only a matter of time before consumers stop seeing Pokemon Go as the hip alternative to more traditional mobile gaming titles.

Nintendo and developers Niantic have apparently promised rolling updates and support for the game, but it’s so far unclear what this means; whether it will be new monsters, new mechanics (outside of a promised future trading ability), or just troubleshooting patches. A combination of the three will potentially be necessary for the game to stay relevant.

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Here’s how the awesome new Pokemon GO mobile game will look on your smartphone -- Four feel good stories about Pokemon Go that are the very best, like no story ever was -- Volunteers being sought for field test of Pokemon Go mobile game

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6 Comments
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As childish as it seems, Pokemon Go is an interesting concept, and probably a game changer.

Given that Pokemon itself is geared to the mentality of nine-year-old children, I predict that Pokemon Go's novelty will eventually wear thin, making it a somewhat long-lived fad (but still generate lots of revenue in that time). Still, I think it will give rise to a new genre of massive multi-player scavenger hunt adventure games aimed at all ages, some involving substantial prizes, rewards and product promotions.

This video "Chardonnay Go- A 'Pokemon Go' game for moms" is a spoof that has now gone viral, but I wouldn't be surprised to see a whole slew of applications along these lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-UxDbxBuvo

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I'd say its a fad. Pokémon Go's augmented reality is nice, but the tried and true battle system that is staple to the Pokémon games has gone completely absent in this title. Until they implement a battle system that makes "catching 'em all" worth it, there is no point.

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Who cares if it's a fad? Very few games these days are sold as a life-long commitment. Angry Birds was a fad too, and it's made tens of millions despite being very similar to numerous games that came before.

The fact is that Pokemon Go has used put a novel twist on a long-lasting franchise. It's been the first product to bring augmented reality "mainstream". That alone makes it worthy of notice. If it's profitable and if people enjoy it along the way, so much the better.

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mmm...I get it....and our kids have always loved Pokemon.....but ultimately I think it is dangerous...

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I've only one word to say to this.

Tamagotchi.

Compare and contrast the two phenomena.

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the game itself is a fad, but augmented reality tied to smartphones has TONS of potential.

Especially when they become programmable on an individual / group level for various purposes.

The marketing potential alone for businesses is astounding.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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