Following the Pokémon GO “ZOMBIES” Closely !

By Chih-Yu Chang(張芷瑜), Yu-Ting Chuang (莊喻婷), Zih-Syuan Wen(溫子萱), Ting Lan(藍婷) and Pei-Yu Hsieh(謝珮瑜) in Taipei
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Pokémon GO players gathered in Beitou,Taipei.(Photo/Yu-Ting Chuang)

Pokémon GO

Since August, the world famous mobile game “Pokémon GO” has arrived in Taiwan. This application has been downloaded for more than 500 million times in the world. Why could it beat other mobile games in such a short time? What are the advantages of this game and how did it attract the players?

“Pokémon GO” which was based on the comic cartoon -Pokémon, was released by Nintendo Co.(任天堂). It encourages the player to become a master of Pokémon. To be clear, it is just like a Treasure Hunt but the Pokémon’s characters will be the “treasure”.

The background of Pokémon GO was connected with the reality. With AR (Augmented Reality) techniques,  people can see familiar street view while playing the game, and the Pokémon will surprisingly appear around the streets. Pokémon GO players will be gathered in some popular spots because of the rare characters showing up.

Augmented Reality
is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.
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With AR techniques, Pokémon GO melds virtual world with real one.(Photo/Yu-Ting Chuang)

There are two different types of the player: one is to collect all kinds of the characters; the other is to be the powerful players so they can occupy the territories. After all, in this game, people have to be patient, focused and share information with other players around them to get rewards.

What are the players thinking?

Common sense would dictate that only teens or people in their 20’s and 30’s would be interested in mobile games. The current phenomenon shows, however, that Pokémon has appealed to people of a wide range of ages, from kindergarten children to 70-somethings.

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Proportion of different age and gender players for mobile games. (Source/The Nielsen Company)

“Pokémon was already popular when I was an elementary school student. “ This mobile game recalls my childhood. ” said Xian-Tai, Lee (李先泰), who is 28 years old. Because Pokémon went viral in Taiwan , it became a hot topic among people of different backgrounds. “All my friends play the game so I want to be a part of them.’’ said Ci-Wun(陳啟文), Chen, 37. However, as to the people who are not a part of “Pokémon generation.” Mr. Chen pointed out that this game can motivate people to go outdoors.

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Pokémon GO player is focused on the game anytime and anywhere.(Photo/Yu-Ting Chuang)

One of the interviewees, Shuang,Lin (林雙), confessed that she plays Pokémon GO all the time everyday to collect every creature, except for sleeping and working. Many players spent so much time on the game, since then, focusing on their smartphones while wandering around the streets that they are described as walking like “zombies’’.

The side effects of Pokémon GO

In addition to influencing the players, Pokémon Go also brings the businessmen some new marketing ideas. As a result, some stores offered different types of discount to attract players to consume. “We provide discounts for power banks for the players. If they are under level 15, we provide a 10% discount; moreover, those above level 16 will receive 15% off.’’ said Ms. Liu, a clerk of the electronic shop. She indicated that the profits of this month were up 20% growth, compared to the revenue from the last month.

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Traffic congestion may happen when a motorcyclist is distracted by Pokémon GO.(Photo/Yu-Ting Chuang)

While Pokémon GO not only brings commercial opportunities, it can be a nightmare for road traffic. When many people assemble in one place, it may easily cause traffic problems. Beitou Park is a good example. “The players might illegally park their cars in the surroundings during the game, some people didn’t even flame out their vehicles.’’ said Cheng-Han Yu (余承翰),the director of Beitou District, GUANG MING (光明) police station. Therefore, Police officers are trying to solve the problems with tougher traffic controls and cracking down on those offenders.

What can we learn from Pokémon GO?

In fact, there are some mobile game companies trying to create their best product to attract players in Taiwan. People might be curious about why those mobile game companies can’t learn the experience of Pokémon GO. The V.P. of the Auer Media Entertainment Corp., Yu-Guang, Wei(魏郁桄)said,“ Technical level can be reached easily. However, Pokémon GO provides the best IP (Intellectual Property) to the players which is the most difficult part to us.’’

Thanks to the media coverage, Pokémon GO didn’t need any advertisements but it’s still our favorite topic in Taiwan recently. Media buzzing has got people to know it and to be tempted by it.

While smartphones are popular and the long lasting Internet technology plays an important role  in everyone’s life, the market of mobile games will likely expand. In contrast to single user games, social games can attract more players because of the social networks. This trend can also prove that people desire to interactive with others.

Some reports have pointed out that the insanity of Pokémon GO will gradually subside after a few months. “ There are some non-gamers before Pokémon GO who usually don’t play the mobile game will be tired of the game soon.’’ Wei said. If Pokémon GO wants to be a permanent game, Wei suggests that it should be attend to its target players and become a more challenging game.