Pokémon Go Changing the Gaming Industry

The undeniably popular Pokemon Go has broken records as the highest grossing mobile app, but how does this help the current state of the gaming industry?

Despite the fears that the gaming industry is struggling, in Australia alone the video game industry is worth almost $3 billion, enjoying double digit year-on-year growth last year alone.

Pokemon Go is a fantastic marriage between technology, the notion of play, and the hugely popular Pokemon franchise. Created by Google-spin off Niantic and the Pokemon Company in a joint venture, the game reportedly earned $35 million in its first fortnight, and Goldman Sachs has estimated the game could generate $2.5 billion in annual sales. 

"Where it helps the game dev industry is it's going to make it easier for us to be able to sell those concepts," said game developer Wil Monte. 

JMC Academy Game Development Lecturer Paul Caggegi discussed the concept of Augmented Reality (AR) in Pokemon Go;

‘While I don't really use the AR function (as it drains the battery REALLY quick) I have used it a couple of times for some laughs. I see it's really something that can take off in a big way, and having a device that can show you things that are superimposed on existing places has huge potential. What a game like this does is it makes a big number of people used to the technology before it can be utilised for other things. Imagine bringing up information on a particular site, or a menu overlaid on a restaurant as you walk by. Those sorts of interactions are not too far off, and what a game does is provide a proof of concept that is simple to understand because it's enjoyed. This sets the stage for what will become intuitive later on.’

What isn’t clear is whether we can expect to see many more games and apps developed using AR in 2017. This will depend on whether Pokémon Go represents the start of a new trend, or if it’s simply a one-off success carried by an already successful brand.

What is apparent are the positive effects that Pokemon Go has already had. 

JMC’s Caggegi describes how... ‘I'm not usually one to adopt games that are hyped, but this appealed to a few of my interests: Augmented Reality; Gamifying your life; gamings impact on social interaction.

On all three accounts, Pokemon GO! has provided a goldmine. Getting out to exercise has always been a chore, but things like Fitbits have worked for some people because it gives you goals you need to accomplish, and you only do that by getting out and exercising. Similarly, Pokemon GO gives you goals, like hatching eggs, and catching more Pokémon. I've now parked my car further from my destination so I can catch a few Pokemons on the way to where I have to go, and maybe pick up a few things from Pokéstops along the way.

On the Social interaction front: It gives me something to do and get excited about with my 5 year old daughter. We catch Pokemon on the way to and from school each day, and she's gotten quite good.’

There have also been reports stating that Pokemon GO has been helping people with anxiety and depression to create new social connections and get active. 

With such a popular game taking the world by storm, this could have an invaluable effect on the Gaming Industry and the progression of AR in future technology. 

We look forward to seeing where Pokemon GO takes us, and we don’t just mean catching Pidgeys!

Find out more about studying Game Development at JMC Academy or Enquire now. 

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