Friday’s Food for Thought: Pokemon Go

Geolocating Pokemon in the real world


By now you’ve probably heard of the game taking smartphone users by storm—Pokémon Go. If you enjoy augmented reality (AR), geocaching, or are an all around Pokémon fan, then you’re sure to enjoy this gaming app.

Launched by The Pokémon Company, Nintendo, and game developer Niantic, Pokémon Go is a free AR game for iOS and Android devices. By enabling your smartphone or tablet’s GPS and camera settings, users have the ability to find and locate Pokémon in the real world. The ’90s throwback game has been downloaded about 7.5 million times, surpassed Tinder and Instagram in total number of downloads, and is catching up with Twitter in terms of daily active users. As of now, the game is only available to people in North America, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and some parts of Europe, but it is slowly making its way to users around the globe.

While playing the game, the app shows a map of nearby Pokémon, and users can navigate to and “catch” them. When a user is near a Pokémon, the game switches to camera mode and users can see the Pokémon overlayed in their house, outside, or wherever they are located. Additionally, the map shows Pokestops, where players can collect pokeballs, as well as gyms, where users can battle other players. These portals are found at museums, churches, shops, and other landmarks—which has helped boom businesses. Google Maps has compiled a map of Pokestop and gym locations around the world.

According to a GamesRadar article, Niantic, which also created augmented location game Ingress in 2012, selected the locations. Formerly owned by Google, Niantic collaborated with Google not only on the Pokémon Go map but also to choose Pokestop and gym locations. According to the article, some of the locations were carried over from Ingress, while others were based on popular geo-tagged photos from Google. According to a Nintendo Life article, Niantic is already looking into creating AR goggles for the game to make the user experience even more immersive.

Download Pokémon Go on iOS and Android devices to start “catching ‘em all!” Learn more about the game and how to play via Vox. Also, check out trajectory’s 2013 feature article on AR to learn more about the technology.

Photo Credit: Niantic

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