It’s taking the world by storm, again. Pokémon, a staple of mid-to-late nineties culture, has returned with a bang.
Whereas previously these incredibly popular little monsters were collected via playing cards, and latterly handheld computer game systems such as the GameBoy and Nintendo DS, they have now made the rather logical leap onto your smartphone.
The Pocket Monsters Are Back with A Vengeance
Available for both iOS and Android devices, the Pokémon Go app is a multiplatform mobile multiplayer game that takes place in the real world thanks to augmented reality. Players use their GPS-equipped smartphone to wander around their neighborhood hunting for, and catching, small virtual monsters called Pokémon (which translates from Japanese to ‘Pocket Monsters’).
To give a little modern context to this phenomenon, Pokémon was the previous generation’s Minecraft. And its recent return to the mainstream has caught even the most hardened Pokémon fan by surprise.
It has permeated social media, news sites, and even some academic and business publications. If you’ve managed to scroll through your Twitter or Facebook feed without seeing a Pokémon, then you are firmly in the minority.
They are back. And they mean business.
Defining Augmented Reality
Before we jump into the cultural and technological impact of Pokémon Go, we thought it would be prudent to provide a brief definition of augmented reality (AR).
Put simply, AR is the integration of relevant digital information with your environment in real time, experienced via a smartphone, tablet, or headset.
It differs from virtual reality (VR), in that it uses the existing environment and overlays new information, rather than creating an entirely artificial environment.
Gotta Catch ‘Em All
Now, back to the world of Pokémon Go.
In such a short space of time, it has managed to become one of the most talked about apps in history, breaking the first week download record for the iOS App Store in the process.
The world is agog for Pokémon Go. And it appeared that Nintendo was reaping the benefits.
Since launching the app, shares in the company had more than doubled, with a broad demographic pounding the pavement in an attempt to locate and capture Pikachu and chums. However, it took a dramatic nose dive days later.
Putting the fluctuating value of the company to one side for a moment, this has been an exercise in the viral potential of smartphone applications, and innovative technologies such as AR. It has encouraged users to go outside and interact with one another, exploring their towns and cities in the process. And they can also join one of the three global teams, fighting for ascendency with teammates around the world.
So, it stands to reason that Pokémon Go has been something of a gateway into multiplayer real-world gaming for many individuals. If you wish to capitalize on this popularity, you must strike while the iron is hot.
How to Make a Game Like Pokemon Go
Replicating the success of Pokémon Go will require careful planning. It won’t be enough to simply create an alternative to Pokémon Go with little-to-no distinguishing features.
When attempting to ride the coattails of a successful smartphone application, it is always recommended that you download the app yourself to better appreciate what you’re up against.
When you download Pokémon Go, you will be tasked with creating a character, before accessing an anime version of Google Maps. The street names on the map correspond with your whereabouts, and as you move in the real world, your character in the game will mimic your movement. As you continue to explore your neighborhood (and beyond) you will randomly encounter various Pokémon, which you must attempt to capture, train, and battle with rival players.
Having downloaded the app, you must consider the following:
How Much Does It Cost?
Perhaps one of the most important ingredients to the viral lift-off of Pokémon Go is the fact that the game is free to download. Of course, the lazier users can make in-app purchases to save themselves the journey of physically travelling to a location known as a PokéStop in the game.
How Does It Make Money?
In addition to the in-app purchases - US Pokémon Go players on iOS are reportedly spending around $1.6m per day - many companies have expressed an interest in advertising in the game.
While revenue information is not yet available for Android, many analysts are already forecasting that the app could generate anywhere up to $1bn in its first year.
What’s The Knock-On Effect?
As you can imagine, given the nature of the game and its ability to encourage users to leave their homes and explore their neighborhoods, there has been a knock-on effect with regards to the wider economy.
Many small businesses, in particular bars, restaurants, and cafes, have started to capitalize on the popularity of the app, turning those Pokémon hunters wandering around in their vicinity into customers.
Business owners can spend money to generate Pokémons in and around their business, in turn increasing the footfall of visitors to a predetermined location. There, the Pokémon Go users can be encouraged to spend money on coffee, beer, food, clothes - the possibilities are endless.
And the most impressive metric worth noting is the fact that the game has topped Twitter’s daily users in the US, while enjoying more engagement than Facebook. Where there’s an active and engaged audience, marketing, and revenue, will follow.
So, this leads us to the development of an AR smartphone application of your own.
How to Develop a Pokémon Go Alternative
Leveraging the Pokémon trend will require a great deal of forward planning, creativity, and business nous. It’s not enough to simply swap out the Pokémon for your own brand of weird and wonderful monsters; you must add value to the burgeoning augmented reality industry, capturing imaginations along the way.
Working with an experienced mobile app development company can allow you to take your first steps towards tapping into the success of Pokémon Go. They will understand the importance of sharp art direction, user-friendly interfaces achieved via the Unity gaming engine, and how crucial it is to generate a return on your investment.
Before a line of code is written and a character concept is sketched out, you need to have a clear idea of the marketplace, and how you intend to muscle in on the Pocket Monsters’ turf.
That’s where we come in…
How Can AppReal Help?
Our strong background in custom mobile app development, complemented by our specialist understanding of Augmented Reality development, ensures even the earliest concepts are in good hands.
With a team of highly trained experts eager to get their teeth into your ideas, we can navigate you through this most dynamic of marketplaces.
Taking your initial concept, we will work together to mould it into something commercially viable. Through industry-leading visual design and technical development, we can produce a world-class Augmented Reality smartphone application of which you can be proud.
Are you ready to transform the mobile gaming industry with your AR app idea? Speak with one of our friendly experts today.