Pokémon has been making a bit of a comeback with Pokémon Go, its newly released app. The Nintendo-owned franchise released the game on Wednesday, July 6, and it is completely taking America by storm. It has become so popular that on Monday, July 11, it became the number-one free app on iTunes. It already has more users than popular apps like Twitter and Tinder.
Within the last week, Pokémon Go has been downloaded approximately 7.5 million times by iOS and Android owners. The game is generating roughly $1.6 million in daily revenue from iOS in the United States alone—an astonishing statistic that doesn’t even take Android downloads into account!
What we at Curiosity Advertising want to know is: Why is Pokémon Go so popular?
Pokémon made its debut in America in 1998, and is the third-best-selling game series ever. For kids of the ’90s and early ’00s, playing Pokémon Go is nostalgic. Many kids from this generation grew up playing Pokémon games, so Pokémon Go is sure to bring back a few memories of playing together on the playground or on the school bus. The Pokémon Red and Blue versions came out for Game Boy in 1998, followed by the Yellow version in 1999, and the Gold and Silver versions in 2000. Between watching the hit TV show that aired in April 1997, and playing years of games, it is difficult not to be excited about Pokémon inhabiting our world again. It’s always been our desire to be real-life trainers, just like the show’s main character, Ash Ketchum. I mean, who doesn’t want their own Pikachu?
Another reason Pokémon Go is such a hit is that the app allows Pokémon to exist in the real world. The game uses a phone’s GPS and clock to locate where and when you are playing. Pokémon appear around you, on your phone screen, where you can catch them. You can fulfill the game’s motto, “Gotta Catch ’Em All!” in real life! The app allows players (trainers) to move around the physical world catching different Pokémon that appear depending on location and time.
The icing on the cake is that Pokémon Go is free to download and play on the devices most individuals already own and use all day long. This adds to the popularity of the game because players would much rather download and play a game that is free, than having to go purchase a Pokémon game for about $40. However, gamers can spend real money on the application through in-game purchases that can help their trainer catch more Pokémon.
The best part about Pokémon Go is that it is bringing people together. While it is fun that Pokémon are in the real world, running into another gamer just adds to the excitement for participants. Individuals can walk down the street alongside other gamers, who they may have never met otherwise, and be connected through a simple, kid-friendly game. Individuals are collaborating and making new friends while all on the hunt to “Catch ’Em All.”
You never know where you’ll see a Pokémon. People are seeing them pop up while walking the dog, waiting in line at the grocery store or while they’re lying in bed. I had one pop up at work while waiting for my coffee to brew, and I even ran into another coworker walking to hatch her Pokémon eggs while she was getting her lunch.
How long will this franchise last? A few complain that the game is not like the Pokémon game we grew up with, where we could battle other trainers and even trade Pokémon with friends. However, those features may come later, judging by the original commercial released for Pokémon Go. We’ll wait and see, and until then, we’re hooked!
—Karleigh Marshall, Curiosity Intern