Pokémon Go: Beyond the Virtual World of Gaming

Every Tom, Dick and Harry knows Pokémon Go. Hell, even our dadis know about it. Beyond an augmented reality game, it is a Game Changer. Twitter is buzzing with it, Instagram feed is bursting with memes and tumblr is tumbling in it. There is just no ignoring it. When Satoshi Tajiri created Pokémon and John Hanke masterminded Pokémon Go, neither would have realised the sensation the character and game would become.

Today we dive into 5 ways the game that broke the internet is affecting the world outside of AR. (move over Kim K.)

The game has resulted in a surge of actual face to face social networking. Everyone has heard about it. Why? Because when you are out and about in the world, you literally bump into fellow players. One thing leads to another and there you are best of friends within minutes. This is a far cry from the world of gaming which is notorious for closing and cutting people off from the reality. Want a piece of the action? Go participate in the Great India Gate PokéHunt and make your own network.

Veni Vedi Veci Depression

Curing and helping depression and anxiety was how I got an introduction to Pokémon Go. There was a storm of links, tweets and Instagrams about how people suffering from them were getting better. Why? Because the game motivates you to take a step outside your safe zone and walk around. And the first step to curing mental health problems is exercise. The game does exactly that. It gives you a reason to go out in the world, which means you are physically working out. This eighth wonder of the world, not content with just one field, is also helping in patient recovery. Doctors are using it to divert the focus from pain to the game in burn patients. Also, because the patients are moving around in order to catch just one more Pokémon, it keeps the afflicted area in motion.

Pick Me! Pick Me!

In a move so ingenious, that the rest of them would be flailing to catch up, one of the network carriers in US has made all data used while playing the A.R. game free for one whole year. Fans would be scrambling to switch to the network even though there are strings attached to the data plan. Sadly most players would fail to realise that the game doesn’t consume much data.

No Discrimination

It turns out, unlike us lowly humans, the game does not discriminate. It helps troublemakers and policemen equally. How? Two players helped catch an attempted murder because the game led them to the correct time and correct place by happenstance. Another man with an outstanding warrant walked into a police building because it was a gym in the game. End result of this Pokéfever was the man being arrested on the spot. The game is giving a leg up to the bad side too. Players are being robbed because the game can take them to “interesting places” (read sleazy, unsavoury) and at odd times too. This makes gamers sitting ducks for robbing and mugging.

I want a chunk of it, too!

When money is up for grabs, everyone wants a piece of it. The first to cash in the golden goose is McDonalds. The fast food giant is tying up with Pokémon Go. Each McDonald will become a gym for the game and a Pokéstop. Where? One Asian country. Which? Chances are Japan, the birth country of Pokémon. Trainers might not but McDonalds surely is going to catch ‘em all!

Beyond these five, the game is also being used by cities to increase tourism. Museums are demanding to be removed as a gym and best of all employees are using it to wriggle out of work. The augmented reality game has definitely had a dramatic effect on the world as a whole, be it virtual or real. Gone are the discussions about Brexit, Black Lives Matter or Trump is going to make it YUGE. The game is the sole obsession right now. The hope is the fever abates before the species drowns in a PokéHaze.

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