Even if you spent the entire weekend offline, you’ve probably heard rumblings of the Pokémon buzz by now.
Yes, in 2016.
Pokémon is seriously taking over the internet (and maybe even the world). Really.
For those in the dark, Nintendo and Niantic released “Pokémon Go” last week to immediate success. It’s an augmented-reality smartphone game that allows users to collect Pokémon in the real world.
According to data from SimilarWeb, the game has already been installed on more Android smartphones in the US than the hugely popular dating app Tinder. On Friday, Pokémon Go was already downloaded on 5.16 per cent of US Android phones.
“Pokémon Go” is even bigger than that. It’s set to overtake Twitter in the near future.
On Friday, just over 3 per cent of US Android owners were using the game daily, compared to around 3.5 per cent for Twitter.
According to SimilarWeb, users are currently spending more time in the app per day than they are on WhatsApp, Instagram, and Snapchat.
So what’s all the buzz about?
Well, it’s highly addictive for one, and so immersive that people are literally injuring themselves playing it as they navigate the city with their heads down and eyes glued to their smartphones. Described as a “real world adventure,” the game uses GPS and augmented reality (AR) to allow players to hunt, capture, battle, train and trade virtual Pokémon that appear on city streets throughout the world.
As you walk around your city, Pokémon will appear on the map. With one tap, the AR technology uses a smartphone or a tablet’s back-facing camera to display Pokemon as though they are actually in front of you.
If you want to try the game out for yourself, you’re going to have to wait. Currently, it’s only available in the US, Australia, and New Zealand. Its mass success isn’t without growing pains; users are reporting crashes and bugs, prompting the company to pause its international rollout.
I have to say, I am slightly intrigued. With the fusion of screen and real-world adventure, video games have certainly come a long way since I got my first Nintendo system.
And here I was just getting over Pokemon Snap.