Over the last few weeks the resurfacing of Pokémon has emerged in full strength. The once viral Nintendo Game Boy “game” then viral trading card has now reawakened, only this time it’s in the form of augmented reality on people’s smartphones!
Millions of people are searching and catching Pokémon left and right, but this time in the most realistic fashion to date: using their mobile phones. Pokémon figures are coming to life through the company’s new mobile augmented reality approach, allowing people to discover Pokémon in places like their own living room, kitchen, parks, super market and more.
So is the hype real? I mean, is this new innovation from the popular game-maker truly the next big thing? Will millions of users turn into a billion one day? Or will “Pokémon GO” taper off with hardly anyone speaking about it 6 months from now?
Below we will analyze certain reasons why this new form of Pokémon engagement can be considered a fad and reasons why it could be the new sustainable and successful game of the future. Let us know what you think and if you agree with the conclusion at the end!
Why is it a fad?
1. Quick game phenomenons come and go all the time: look at things like Pogs, Homies, Ferbies,or the once famed gaming system Dreamcast. You’ll notice they all have one thing in common. They came and they went. This is especially evident for the children demographic. Kids found new kinds of entertainment over time with other fun games and animated characters over a 12-24 month time period.They simply moved on once their levels of enjoyment with each of these examples started to fall off.
2. Pokémon was a fad once before – Look no further than the company we are talking about. Pokémon has become notorious for creating things that keep shooting up in popularity for the two decades it’s been around. Whether it be their trading cards, or Game Boy game, these things dwindled after about 12-24 months. That’s not to discount the prominence of this brand and kudos to their ability to stick around in relevancy over for such a long period of time. However, we have to be realistic and remember that literally no one was talking obsessively about Pokémon 2 months ago.
3. Limited population of users – Back in the 90’s and still today kids are obsessed with Pokémon, but it’s applicability isn’t there for anyone over 30 years old. Pokémon has always stayed a kids’ oriented game and continues to cater to them. As mentioned above, kids will easily find a new form of entertainment in due time.
4. Not enough mainstream value proposition – What value either tangible or intangible are 20, 30, 40, 50 and 60 year olds receiveing by playing Pokémon GO? I just don’t see the value equating to the amount of time dedication someone needs to commit to playing this game in a competitive manner. For older demographics who have less spare time on their hands. I believe that the value needs to be there in order for older populations to gravitate towards it.
5. Consumer confusion – “I don’t get it” – this is what many people around the world are simply saying to themselves. Unfortunately for Pokémon’s sake, these people don’t have the time or energy to invest right now in order to figure out how to play. They’d rather just carry on with their lives Pokémon-less.
Why it isn’t a fad:
1. They own their own IP – Pokémon owns the intellectual property associated with their technology in and out. Therefore, they aren’t reliant on anyone else to dictate how will they grow their business concept. Considering they’ve grown their business model and creative concept into a dominant force over the last 15 years I would suspect they can continue growing drastically.
2. Established brand with millions of true followers and fans – in the late 90’s Pokémon built a loyal fan base of millions (including myself), in fact, tens of millions. In their new current endeavor, they have the ability to leverage all those fans and followers to help grow out their new concept. I was a huge fan of the Game Boy game and trading cards when I was 10 years old. I have zero ties to Pokémon these days. However, if they found a way to resonate with me trough the new game today, I’m one of the millions of others who can help spread the word and value what the new Pokémon offers.
3. They’ve outlasted the competition for years past – DragonBall Z, Kirby, Sonic, and Digimon all have one thing in common: they never became as popular as Pokémon. Therefore, Pokémon has continued to stay at the top of the pack in terms of animated video game characters and episodic series. The fact that it has stayed at the top for so long gives me reason to believe that it will continue to stay this way due to their promising new game innovation.
4. They’re proven and credible – do you have any credibility concerns when you think of Pokémon? Do you get suspicious about whether their games will actually work properly? The answer to each of these questions for a majority of consumers is “no”. Pokémon delivers grade A products for consumers and there isn’t any doubt on performance when using their different entertainment platforms. This lack of questions and hesitations gives consumers no reason at all to at least give this new game a try and see if they like it.
5. Augmented reality is the future. – Pokémon’s use of augmented reality comes at perfect timing. This industry is emerging and people are steadily beginning to recognize the power of this technological advancement. Pokémon recognizes the future of this technology and the place it will have in society. They are simply tapping augmented reality early on, knowing that the future is promising and so they can be considered a market leader in the space.
6. They’re tech savvy – With its latest capturing of the augmented reality trend, Pokémon is demonstrating its continued use and leverage of advanced technology. They were one of the first massively popular games with Game Boy Color. When it came out Nintendo saw the potential of this early innovation. Now they’re doing the same thing with augmented reality. The best part is that they have all the resources in the world to expand their tech teams in order to keep pace with any demand or changes that come within the industry.
My conclusion – Not a fad.
Written by Max Ringelheim
Max Ringelheim is a 26 year old seasoned, successful, and as many others before him failed entrepreneur. After graduating college Max co-founded and bootstrapped his own video conferencing technology company called Vonvo.com. After 3.5 years and seeing many accomplishments such as raising over $150,000 in angel funding, and having his software utilized at the United Nations, he decided to put Vonvo on hold. He then transitioned into a consulting role for various startup companies in NYC. Some of his most recent consulting roles were assisting as an SDR for an Ad-Tech startup called ListenLoop, and being responsible for co-launching the recently acclaimed “Hoverboard Movement.” Some accomplishments he experienced in the Hoverboard industry were generating over 7 figures in sales revenues in less than 8 weeks, and establishing dozens of partnerships with various notable celebrities. Max is now looking for new opportunities with exciting companies where he can leverage his tireless work ethic, enormous network, and viral growth hacking abilities.