Even if you’re not one of the hoards of pedestrians hunting down Pokémon, you’ve definitely crossed paths with one. All over the planet, zombie-like game-devotees are taking part in what can only be described as the ultimate digital treasure hunt, aka Pokémon GO. It has rapidly become a semi-nostalgic/semi-futuristic sensation; combining a craze from the past (remember those Pokémon cards that sat beside your collection of Beanie Babies back in the 90s?) with the technology of today. It’s at that perfect intersection of then and now, and fans are absolutely lapping it up.
In four short weeks, it’s managed to alter our lives. Since it launched strangers onto our streets and chatter onto our newsfeeds, Pokémon GO has uncovered the closet nerds amongst our friends, overtaken public areas usually devoid of people and caused vitamin D-deficient gamers around the world to get outside in the sunlight. More interestingly though, it’s also producing an interesting wave of entrepreneurialism.
There’s Brit Sophie Pedraza, who has quit her job as a teacher to become a full-time bounty hunter, trading her Pokémon Go accounts on eBay. And Nick Johnson, the first person to have captured all 142 Pokémon in America, is being sponsored by international travel company, Marriott Reward, to catch the remaining Pokémon in Europe, Japan and Australia.
The augumented reality app has also trumped Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Tinder for daily usage time. And according to Citbank, the start-up that developed the game, Niantic Inc., has already added $7.5 billion to Nintendo’s value.
It seems Pokémon GO has such instant and widespread appeal for a variety of reasons: it’s results-orientated, it’s simple and accessible, gives a whole new purpose to exercise, taps into a (hopefully healthy) sense of competition, creates real-life connection with other players and is making people feeling part of something collective—we sure can relate to the power of that at Collective Hub!
One brilliant guarantee of any societal fad—be it the ice bucket challenge, planking, or #foodstagraming—is the inevitable creativity that follows. Countless individuals and brands have already jumped on the Pokémon GO bandwagon and created their own innovative extensions, some genius, others frivolous but all a testament to the game’s unequivocal impact. Here are a few of our favourites.
Muncie animal shelter’s ‘Pokemon dogs’
In the small US town of Muncie, Indiana, Phil Peckinpaugh noticed the rise in people walking around as they played Pokémon GO. At the Muncie Animal Shelter, where Peckinpaugh is director, there are plenty of rescue dogs who need to be walked. So he had a brainwave: why not combine the two?
“Trying to hatch an egg or catch rare Pokémon? Come down to the Muncie Animal Shelter to walk one of our dogs while you get your steps in!” reads the post on the shelter’s Facebook page. “Just come to the front desk and say you are here for the Pokémon dogs!”
Pokedates: a matchmaking app
What if you had a date set up where there was at least one common interest? Pokédates is that medium. It aims to set up users with a like-minded PokéMate. Once you confirm your date, you’re ready to catch Pokémon together. (Which, we predict, means we’re not far from our first Pokemon Go marriage).
Iphone case for catching
Those pesky Pokémon are slippery little suckers, which is why you need all the help you can get. Clever industrial design student, Jon Cleaver, has invented his own specialist Pokémon catching phone case.
David Attenborough narration
Everything is made a little more educational by the dulcet tones of David Attenborough. The words of the legendary wildlife documentarian has been mashed with a scene of a Pokémon user and well, it speaks for itself.
Personalised Pokémon driver
We’ve got to face facts: it’s easier to catch Pokémon on wheels than it is on foot. Craigslist has seen an interesting increase in Pokémon specific service of late: a Pokémon chauffeur. Like this driver in Baltimore, you can pay a stranger an hourly fee to drive you around the city on your hunt for Pokémon. Move over Uber.