“It says that Abra is here for another four minutes.” It, in this situation, is a Pokémon GO companion app. For the uninitiated, Pokémon GO is the latest craze in mobile gaming. It forces gamers to explore the world around them and go to new places in order to play the game and capture rare Pokemon. In New York City, players are visiting landmarks all around the 5 boroughs to try to “catch ’em all”. As of writing this article, Pokémon GO has an estimated 75,000,000 downloads worldwide. To find where rare Pokemon are in New York City, here is a quick guide if you’re looking to add some rare Pokemon to your collection.
The game more or less operates in secrecy. It does not tell you where the rare Pokemon are or even how most of the game operates. Players have been forced to explore the game enough to find the small features, such as throwing a curveball, which requires the player to spin the pokeball in a circle. It makes it harder to throw the pokeball with accuracy, but it does greatly improve your ability to catch tougher Pokemon.
Since Pokémon GO is very secretive, it has forced the community to come together to share tips and tricks, and it has opened up a large space for companion apps that facilitate more fluid and enjoyable gameplay in Pokémon GO.
As of writing this article, Pokémon GO and a companion app, Poke Radar for Pokemon GO, occupy 2 of the top 4 spots on the App Store’s Top Free Charts. That means that both Pokémon GO and the aforementioned companion app are ahead of Snapchat, Messenger, Google Maps, YouTube, and Facebook. That is amazing for a mobile game and an app that is solely dedicated to that mobile game.
Braydon Batungbacal, creator of Poke Radar for Pokemon GO, is not a game designer at all. In fact, he is a cofounder of a company that handles eCommerce for companies looking to sell directly on social media. Batungbacal’s success in creating this companion app shows a few things.
Firstly, it shows that there is a demand and a market for this type of app. Pokémon GO is not created directly by Nintendo, but rather by the company Niantic. This means that while the game has the intellectual property of Nintendo in the game, the mechanics and operations of the game are more or less Nintendo-free.
The game does not have Nintendo’s patented blend of deliberate design and careful management.
This is most easily seen in the lack of trading within the game, lack of information and help given to players, and bugs and glitches that litter the game. Poke Radar for Pokemon GO makes an improvement on just one of the weak areas in the game. I expect there to be more companion apps than exist right now, as players try to improve their gameplay experience.
Secondly, it points to Pokémon GO as something in between a game and a social app. Don’t get me wrong, Pokémon GO is a game, but it functions as much more than that. When a mobile game hits the app store, it is always taken at face value. If it has its flaws, people never attempt to fix it themselves. Instead, they just don’t play the game. However, social apps are constantly under transformation. Snapchat continues to add new filters, Messenger has added emojis, gifs, and more. These companion apps that are popping up a dime a dozen are Pokémon GO’s way of adapting and evolving like these social apps.
Poke Radar for Pokemon GO has been successful enough that there will only logically be more and more companion apps that come out as time goes on.
No Pokémon GO players, even the die hard ones, believe that the game is perfect. This particular companion app helped with the cloud of mystery that surrounds which Pokemon are found where.
In previous Pokemon games, this mystery was fun. However, Pokémon GO requires people to take a long time walking around and exploring if they really wanted to naturally find all of the rare Pokemon. Here are a few predictions of future companion apps that I have.
A few running apps have been integrating Pokémon GO into their system, directing you towards where the best Pokemon will be on your run. This adds the fun and adventure of Pokémon GO into something slightly less fun, running. Expect to see more of these apps pop up, and a few of them becoming popular enough to break through to the top charts on the App Store.
Additionally, expect to see either an update from Niantic that allows players to talk to one another, or a messaging app created that specifically targets Pokémon GO players. One of the major qualms that players have with the game is that it promotes a really nice and welcoming community, but does not give that community the tools to grow and thrive within the game.
Improved visibility apps:
Everyone is loving Pokémon GO, but not everyone is loving bumping into people on the street who are playing Pokémon GO. Despite the warning whenever a player logs on to pay attention to their surroundings, it is clear that people cannot be trusted with each other’s safety. So, there is definitely a demand for an app that allows players to play Pokémon GO while. . . on the go. . . while also remaining aware of their surroundings.
Pokémon GO is a very exciting game that has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for app makers and gamers alike. Pokémon GO-related apps have been flooding the App Store and more continue to make their way to players everywhere, and there is only more to come. What they will be is still a mystery, but companion apps are going to be critical to Pokémon GO’s survival and evolution.