Over the last few weeks the resurfacing of Pokemon has emerged in full strength. The once viral Nintendo Game Boy "game," and viral trading card, has now reawakened. This time in the form of augmented reality on people's mobile phones!
Millions of people are searching and catching Pokemon left and right, but this time in the most realistic fashion to date using their cell phones. Pokemon figures are coming to life through the new mobile augmented reality approach. This new approach is allowing people to discover Pokemon in places like their living room, kitchen, local parks, super-markets and more.
So is the hype real? I mean is this new innovation from the popular game-maker truly the next big thing? Will millions of users turn into a billion one day? Or will "Pokemon GO" taper off with hardly anyone speaking about it 6 months from now?
Below we will analyze certain reasons why this new form of Pokemon engagement can be considered a fad and reasons why it could be the new sustainable and successful game of the future. Let us know what you think and if you agree with the conclusion at the end!?
WHY IT IS A FAD:
1. Quick Game Phenomenons Happen All The Time: Look at things like Pogs, Homies, Ferbies, or the once famed gaming system Dreamcast. You'll notice they all have one thing in common. They came and they went. This especially for the children demographic. Kids over a 12-24 month time period found new more entertaining, and innovative ways to consume their time with other fun games, characters and consoles. They simply moved on once their levels of enjoyment with each of these examples started to fall off.
2. Pokemon Was A Fad Once Before - Look no further than the company we are talking about today. Pokemon for the two decades it's been around has become notorious for creating things that shoot up in viral popularity and then level off. Whether it be their trading cards, or Game Boy game series these things dwindled after about 24 months. That's not to discount the level of popularity these games once achieved and the prominence this brand has created. In fact big time kudos to the company as a whole and their ability to stick around in relevancy over such a long time period. However we have to be realistic and remember that literally no one was talking about Pokemon in an obsessive capacity 2 months ago.
3. Limited Population Of Users - Back in the 1990's and still today kids are obsessed with Pokemon. However it's applicability isn't there for anyone over 35 years old. Pokemon has always stayed a kids oriented game and continues to cater to them. As mentioned above kids will easily find a new form of entertainment in due time.
4. Not Enough Mainstream Value Proposition - What tangible or intangible value are 30, 40, 50 and 60 year olds receiving by playing Pokemon Go? I just don't see the value equating to the amount of time dedication someone needs to commit to playing this game in a competitive manner. For older demographics who have less spare time on their hands, I believe that the value needs to be there in order for older populations to gravitate towards it.
5. Consumer Confusion - "I don't get it?" This is what many people around the world are simply saying to themselves. Unfortunately for Pokemon's sake these people questioning themselves they don't have the time or energy to invest right now to figure out the answer to this question. They'd rather just carry on with their lives Pokemonless.
WHY IT ISN'T A FAD:
1. They Own Their IP - Pokemon owns the intellectual property associated with their technology in an out. Therefore they aren't reliant on anyone else to dictate their terms for growing their business concept. As a result considering they've grown their business model and creative concept into a dominant force over the last 15 years I would suspect they can continue growing drastically.
2. Established Brand With Millions Of Followers And Fans - in the late 90's Pokemon built a following of loyal fans in the hundreds of millions (including myself). In their new current endeavor they have the ability to leverage all those fans and followers to help grow out their new concept even further. I was a huge fan of the Game Boy game and the trading cards when I was 10 years old. I have zero ties to Pokemon these days. However if their new game can find a way to resonate with me today I'm one of millions of others who can help spread the word about the value the new Pokemon offers.
3. They've Outlasted The Competition For Years - DragonBall Z, Kirby, Sonic, and Digimon all have one thing in common. They never became as popular as Pokemon. Therefore Pokemon has continued to stay at the top the pack in terms of animated video game characters and episodic series. The fact that it has stayed at the top for so long gives me reason to believe that it will continue to stay this way due to their promising new game innovation.
4. They're Proven And Credible - Do you have any credibility concerns when you think of Pokemon? Do you get concerned if their games will work? The answer to each of these for a majority of consumers is no. Pokemon delivers grade A products for consumers and there isn't any doubt on performance when using their different forms of entertainment. This lack of questions and hesitations gives consumers no reason at all to at least give this new game a try and see if they like it.
5. Augmented reality is the future. - Pokemon's use of augmented reality is perfect timing. This industry is emerging and people are steadily beginning to recognize the power this technology industry offers. Pokemon recognizes the future of this technology and the place it will have in society. They are simply tapping augmented reality early on knowing that the future is promising, and so that they can be considered a market leader in the space.
6. They're tech savvy - With its latest capturing of the augmented reality trend, Pokemon is demonstrating again how their continued use and leveraging of advanced technology will continue to keep them at the top. They were one of the first massively popular games for Game Boy Color when it came out and saw the potential of this early innovation from Nintendo. Now they're doing the same thing with augmented reality. The best part is that they have all the tech resources and manpower in the world to expand their capabilities so that they can keep pace with demand or market changes that come with this emerging industry.
My conclusion - Not a fad! :-)