The Pokémon GO Phenomena
Have you been bit by the Pokémon GO bug yet? Maybe you never will, but I decided to download the app this past weekend. I don’t see myself becoming obsessed with it, but I do see the interest and think it is fun!
Let’s get some perspective for anyone that “doesn’t get it” or is condemning it. Video game playing is a hobby or pastime. It’s not much different than other hobbies like golf, gardening, reading, Fantasy Football, etc. This video game is encouraging people to get outside and involve themselves in a more physical way than just sitting with a controller.
One of the things I like about this app is the community and relationships that it is building. For me, it provided an opportunity to learn something from my son. He has had to tutor me on how to play. Families are getting out and playing together. (Sometimes it’s hard to tell who is more excited, the kids or the parents!)
For gosh sakes, it’s getting people outside! It’s all good in my book when you see groups of people out and about with their phones, laughing and having a good time and helping each other. By the way, you may see a bunch of people with their heads in their phones camped out in a spot. This is a “Gym” where Pokémon GO battles occur.
When Pokémon GO first arrived on the scene, I was not paying too much attention to it. A “game” is not something I spend a lot of time with. Pokémon is certainly not on my list of interests. However, I was intrigued by the stories that started appearing in Reddit, on TV and through various news sources. The overall theme has been the remarkable interactions this game has allowed. People are exploring areas of their city they may not have even thought to go to before.
Pokémon GO Stories:
- One of the stories that caught my attention was found on Reddit about an autistic child and how it got him out of rigid routine and communicating with others. I can only imagine the joy for his Mom in seeing her child interacting so openly.
- Another story that caught my eye this weekend was a police cruiser in San Diego that cranked up the ‘Pokémon GO’ theme song for players while it rolled through Balboa Park. You can hear the laughter of the crowd. I think this helps build trust in the community.
- This story is also on Reddit from a police officer. He shares that he noticed a group of kids that were hanging out in a park at night. I like that he pointed out that the kids were doing something right rather than wrong.
- In Kansas City, the public library has a sign on the door that welcomes Pokémon GO players and encourages them to come inside to play and to let the players know that there is free Wi-Fi. Makes me wonder how many of the players had been inside that library before?
- I just read that Children’s Hospitals are using the game to engage with the patients. In fact, if you have any spare Lures, drop them by your nearest Children’s Hospital so these sick kiddos can forget about being sick for a while and have some fun.
There are so many great stories and if you have one, I would love for you to share it with me!
So, what can we learn from Pokémon GO?
- I see Pokémon GO as a great lesson in marketing. Mark Schaefer wrote a blog about this new craze and what we can learn from it. He pointed out that many businesses and marketers are concentrating on building traffic when trust is what we need to be building. ‘We need to build an emotional bond between our company, our content, and our customers.’ Which Nintendo has done so well with this game.
- We can all learn to be more open to something new. Instead of approaching with condemnation, why not approach with curiosity? Learn more about something and even if it isn’t for you, don’t be judgmental about the people that find it fun or interesting. Who knows, maybe you will find something to like about it too.
- In the Kansas City Metro area where I live, the animal shelters were encouraging people to volunteer to walk the dogs and play Pokémon GO while out on the walk. A win-win for everyone! How can you turn something that is trending into something that is relevant for your business or organization?
These are just a few of my takeaways I see with Pokémon GO. How about you?
I will end with this, in the current environment we are living in, there seems to be so much separatedness. If a mobile game is what brings us together, I am all for it.
Until next time…