Pokemon Go has officially become a global phenomenon. It has only been available for a short time in the US and UK and already has around 21 million users in the US (which overtakes Candy Crush’s peak audience of 20 million users!). It has also over taken Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram in terms of daily usage with the average time spent on the app being 33 minutes.
So how have brands been utilising this opportunity and what does this mean for the augmented reality space?
One of the largest brands to commit to the Pokemon Go craze is McDonalds. They will become the first brand to have a sponsored location. This will coincide with Pokemon Go’s launch in Japan and will have 3000 McDonalds restaurants turned into Pokemon gyms (virtual battle areas where players can take on other peoples Pokemon for control of an in-game tower and then get rewarded with token currency). This will inevitably result in huge waves of players rushing to McDonald stores as Japan is home to some of the world’s biggest Pokemon fans.
Certain government bodies have also been reacting to the game’s incredible popularity with public service announcements. For example, the office in charge of highway safety in Tennessee have released an effective education piece encouraging users to stay alert whilst driving and not to ‘Go’ until they have stopped. Business savvy food and drink establishments have also jumped on the craze by offering discounts to customers contingent on their Pokemon Go status.
This phenomenon has obviously been a huge opportunity for brands but it has also had a big impact on the wider marketing and advertising world in general because of its impact on augmented reality (AR).
Previous to Pokemon Go AR has been adopted by big brands like Ford and House of Fraser but they were not able to make it an everyday thing like Pokemon has succeeded in doing. Antonin Lhuiller (MD of North Europe for Gameloft) has predicted that this will lead to a decline in brands creating their own AR experiences because they will just look to partner with bigger games instead. Other experts also believe that this will lead to a period of copycats with gaming companies trying to make something bigger and better.
Regardless of what happens next the sheer scale of engagement and popularity in the short space of time that Pokemon Go has been around is truly astounding. The game’s popularity is only set to continue on an upward trajectory with the forthcoming Japanese launch being hotly anticipated.
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