It’s past midnight, I have work to do in the morning, and I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a few days. I’m going to sleep. Just kidding! I’m at City Hall in Manhattan looking for Blastoise on Pokémon Go because I read an article that said Blastoise spawns “by the fountain” at night.
Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, with over 75,000,000 downloads worldwide. Despite it being buggy and having constant server issues, Pokémon GO is showing no signs of slowing down.
Unfortunately, there may be an end to the Pokémon GO craze, in one way or another. Here are the normal ways that games fade into obscurity, and what Pokémon GO is doing to combat it.
People love this game and it only seems to be picking up steam. For a visual representation of just how much people love this game, watch this video where people stampede to catch a rare Pokemon, or this video where someone shouts the name of a rare Pokemon and all hell breaks loose.
People Get Bored:
I foolishly predicted when the game was released that it would remain popular for a few weeks, then fade into obscurity. Instead, the game has been able to retain, and even add, players in the last few weeks. Additionally, in the past few days, Niantic revealed the leaders of each team, giving a large amount of foreshadowing of some new and exciting changes to the game and the narrative it currently pushes.
The reveal of these team leaders shows Niantic’s willingness to constantly evolve their game in order to keep players interested. After all, even Angry Birds stopped being popular because it did not evolve and adapt.
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The Game Does not Adapt:
Some of the most popular apps in the App Store of all time are games. However, unlike social apps like Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter, games run their course and eventually fall out of favor due to their inability to hold interest and evolve to fit the needs of their players. Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, and Candy Crush, have all had their respective rise and falls. If Pokemon GO will have a fall from grace, it will more than likely follow the same path as the aforementioned games. Such is the sad reality of games.
However, Niantic has already taken steps to ensure that the game continues to remain interesting. As previously mentioned, team leaders were recently spoiled, foreshadowing more team involvement in the game that has yet to be released.
Additionally, there have been reports that the game’s code has “McDonald’s” in it, which causes many people to believe that there will be a discount or some sort of promotional deal happen between Pokémon GO and McDonald’s in the near future.
These both indicate that Niantic does not intend on resting on their laurels and collecting their massive checks from the great success of Pokémon GO. Instead, it is clear that they plan on constantly adding new adventures new features to keep the game in people’s minds.
Money Becomes a Problem:
Money in games is always something that the designers and developers have to keep an eye on. For an example of how money can have a large and (sometimes) detrimental effect on a game, read this article on Counterstrike gambling. This has already started with the inclusion of micro-transactions in the game. However, since there is currently no way to trade items or Pokemon from one player to another, player-to-player transactions have been limited to just buying and selling accounts, which is already a ban-able offense.
Where does it go from here?
There is an incredibly large portion of the player base that wants a trading feature implemented in the game. After all, there are continent-specific Pokemon that are sure to be in high demand in other continents.
“Gotta catch ‘em all” doesn’t exactly translate to “gotta travel the world to catch ‘em all”.
Once a trading feature is inevitably implemented, buying and selling of Pokemon will become a core part of the game, even if Niantic and Nintendo try to snuff it out, due to it being so hard to police when the money value of each Pokemon is unknown and completely objective to Niantic and Nintendo.
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Of these 3 challenges that Niantic will face, Pokémon GO is passing with flying colors in 2. The last, the money problem, could greatly influence the future of the game. As Niantic introduces new features and new mechanics into the game, as they have shown a willingness to do, they will need to account for the ramifications it may have on the overall economy of the game. Few games have truly been able to manage and balance the secondary market that is created when money is attached to items in the game while allowing players to trade between one another.
They make a technical blunder:
Additionally, the most recent problem that Pokémon GO has created for itself is the tracking system. At the beginning of the game, there was a “step system” that allowed people to track down Pokemon in the real world. Since then, there was a bug with the system that made tracking difficult, so Niantic removed it completely until they found a solution for it. Players were not happy to say the least. This tweet puts it pretty well:
Recently, there have been videos that show a new style of tracking that shows you where the Pokemon can be found in relation to your avatar’s location. This seems like a potentially fantastic solution to the big problem that the game currently faces, but only time will tell.
Pokémon GO is going to have a critical few weeks and months that will determine its longevity. Logically, the game would eventually die as the hype surrounding it dies too. However, Pokémon GO has shown us that it defies all logic. The game itself does not do anything new, yet it has become one of the most popular mobile games of all time within a few weeks. People should get bored of having to travel around to explore the game, but they have formed a great community surrounding the game and people continue to put effort into pushing their progress in the game.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have Pokemon to catch.
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