Am sure, whoever you are and wherever you are, by now, you must have definitely come across your friends or colleagues going gaga about the sensational event of the world over the past one week. Yes, am talking about the Pokemon Go.
If you are not familiar with what this game is all about, let me explain you in one line (disclaimer: I know less than 10% about this game). It’s about collecting Pokemon characters using the game, but browsing/searching in the real world. If you wonder how, that’s what the game’s USP is, AR (Augmented Reality), augmenting the real world with super imposed digital world.
I’m personally very much excited by the success of Pokemon Go (Not that I had any stake in it, I wish though), it kind of fulfilled my wish to see the merger of real and the virtual/digital world in some popular way. I actually thought this might take much longer, but am surprised by the fact that it happened much before than I expected.
This game has created ripples in the gaming industry and perhaps is going to change the landscape of digital/mobile gaming altogether. Stats show now this is the most downloaded and used game/app in US/Australia right now. In fact, I think this is going to have impact across many areas of technology/markets. I think this is the trigger the AR world is waiting for, which could probably the next biggest thing after Internet itself.
Keeping aside various real life problems that this game can pose (like accidents, kidnaps), I feel there are few macro trends that could follow this Pokemania.
Boost for Gaming and related tech companies
Naturally, the first beneficiaries of this success are the other gaming companies and the tech companies behind these. The stock prices of other key players Sony/EA/Microsoft are also steadily rising from last week on the success of PokeMon Go. Do expect some really cool AR games/apps invading us and be ready to be delighted.
Tech companies like Intel/Nvidia might also stand to gain with increased need of better performances. Wearable devices such as Apple watch/Google glasses might surely make a run as they improve to better integrate with the AR apps/games.
New avenues for advertisers
“Collect a very rare Pokemon xxx, upon buying a medium Pizza at xxx Pizza Hut”
“Collect special discount coupons if you visit xxx location in your AR app or at one of the Pokestops.”
AR apps/games will open up a whole new space for the digital marketing guys. Already there are so-called sponsored Pokestops for the game which businesses small or large have signed up, targeting the customers for their products/services.
This is just a beginning; expect many AR enhanced marketing strategies coming up in future. Just like the real world Advertising, the AR enhanced Ads would not irritate you with unclosable and unpassable popups. Be assured that the digital marketing world has just stumbled upon a whole new real estate for their Ads and Campaigns, and the existing advertising and marketing models may be extinct if they do not adapt.
Take AR to Main stream
Augmented reality is an active work in progress for the past decade, but it has not garnered much of main stream attention as it was believed to be too techie and too Niche. The real world usage and implications of AR seemed like a bit of a giant leap, too tedious to comprehend and implement.
What Pokemon Go success has done is that it made Augmented Reality (AR) an easily understandable concept. Almost like a simple layman example of a complex technology. It’s like showcasing the fun side before showing the real world benefits. It’s a test to check the readiness of the people for AR, and yes, we are ready in fact.
The success of Pokemon is not just a mobile gaming app becoming a huge hit or creating records or garnering profits for the company. It has probably defined how our future would shape up. How we see things, how we learn and perhaps our lives would shape up and revolve around technology and that too in a much better way that the current.
Imagine learning via 3D hologram images for a car which you can play around with, assemble and disintegrate if you want to learn the mechanics of it.
Merge the experience of gaming/movies
Imagine a movie where by using a special AR/VR (augmented/Virtual reality) device, you can play a lead or any character in the movie just like a game. The whole new world of fun and adventure awaits us. The difference between a movie and a game will disappear slowly (not that the movies disappear completely, you get the point right?). Give me an AR/VR device and an app, I might experience and live my own movie. Doesn’t sound too unrealistic!!
Boon to Service providers?
Last but not least, Pokemon Go and the host of other AR games that is about to flood the mobile gaming markets are going to be huge boost for the Data service providers.
No matter what, Pokemon Go or any AR game/App for that matter will always need some form of a data connection. Meaning, more profits for Data service providers.
Pokemania may fade away after few weeks or months (may be not)but the doors it opened could possibly let AR make a grand entry into our lives.
I’m Bullish, are you?