The 5 Stages of Pokemon Go
This is hardly the first or last Pokemon Go blog post out there, but I can guarantee you it’s the only one I have read. I found it a bit hard to ignore. I also find it easy to mock- but that would be too easy. It’s a fun app for a lot of people, with the accompanying overreach in praise, overreaction in backlash and caution, and general lack of big-picture awareness (hint: augmented reality may actually be useful after all these years- this is n’;t it, but may lead to it. See, I led off with my positive takeaway!). On to my rambling:
When a new mobile app really takes off right out of the gate, I have noticed a Kübler-Ross-style arc to its introduction and adoption. Pokemon Go is no exception, though it also proves that there may be endless Kübler-Ross variations.
- Mass Adoption: Take an overly complicated geo-based mobile game, strip it down and add a pop-culture element that stimulates the idiot-centers of the modern brain (I believe the scientific term for the social lubricant is derpamine). Soon you have a mass-adopted mindless game that could be used for…well, anything I guess.
- Inflated Sense of Benefit: Oh, yes, people are exercising and socializing because of Pokemon Go. After all, you have to physically go to the locations to catch the beasts, right? Plus, the throngs of peacefully-assembling hordes staring at their phones is a sight to behold. Our nation is saved. Yes, there are absolutely people for whom the game is getting them out when they might not, and communicating in ways they otherwise might not, but describing the app as some sort of fitness craze is a bit much.
- Backlash: With any overwhelming popularity comes withering dismissal. I am generally happy to be cranky about silly popular things online, though to be honest I have no problem with Pokemon Go. My complete lack of interest in the game personally is more due to my complete lack of interest in Pokemon the first time around, so I come by my ambivalence honestly. What’s your excuse?
- Opportunism: As a marketer, I always eagerly await (read: anticipate with dread) the kneejerk “Marketing Lessons” posts of whatever is going on. For Pokemon, the worst took the form of advice on taking monetary advantage of a fad that is only a few days old. I actually got an email from a marketing firm with the subject line “Turn Pokemon Go Into Dough for Your Business.”
- Danger (Privacy): Immediately after the game came out, the Internet Cassandras warned of privacy issues. These were both offline – danger of being assaulted either from being lured somewhere due to the game, or simply due to not being aware of surroundings – or online – the iPhone edition getting full access to your Google account (which was fixed, but despite the “don’t worry” attitude of this article, it was a real thing), or maybe stupid people downloading malware-laced knockoffs on Android. In defense of the Engadget article, I do agree that the game is not likely a privacy apocalypse, but do be careful out there.
- Danger (Darwin): It’s only a matter of time before someone gets killed playing Pokemon Go, right? Please don’t fdo a dead pool, we’ve already had enough close calls (one near-contender resulted from a man assuming players were criminals and shot at them, because ‘Murica). I really don’t want to know if and when it actually happens. It’s weird enough that more than one early story described players discovering dead bodies, as if they were in some half-baked coming-of-age-movie. Who am I kidding: is there really a danger to playing a fantasy game in the real world?
- Squirrel: How long do you think the Pokemon Go craze will last? I assume it will wear off, and quickly. But I also suspect it will inspire some folks to come up with some interesting uses for augmented reality – as well as some new brainless ones. Enjoy the game is it’s your thing- just be careful of what you might find: