Pokemon GO: Expectations falling short, what’s next?

2016-07-27 12:41:59

It seems that the social phenomenon Pokemon GO, which was the topic of our latest post, is not maintaining the financial expectations created during the first weeks following its launch. The most visible consequence of its loss is the 30% drop in Nintendo’s stock value since last week. In this post, we are going to take a look into the main issues that caused Pokemon GO to lose its initial momentum.  Fingers crossed they will regain the lost ground…

Pokemon GO hacked

There have been many reports circulating around how some geeks hackers exploited the game system to level up faster using Bots and fake GPS signals. These activities by a select few have created an uneven playing field discouraging the honest players who want to ‘Play by the rules’. Physical capture cannot compete with virtual capture and the Geeks have advanced so quickly that the genuine players feel cheated. There are two consequences to this hack:

  1. The cheats complete the game quickly and lose interest
  2. The genuine players fall so far behind they can’t compete and simply quit

Fair competition is key for Pokemon GO to maintain interest levels; as game hackers generally share their exploits and cheats on the Internet Niantic could be facing a real problem here.

Mass Phenomenon

Pokemon GO is a game designed to target a very specific audience, Millennials and Generation Z. These are the key people that grew up with Pokemon. As a result of targeting users who are familiar with Pokemon and who are predisposed to technology and games Nintendo has attained, in less than a month, more downloads than Instagram and Tinder. These are huge numbers but does the volume of downloads represent interested genuine game players or people merely following a trend? Either way Niantic and Nintendo will need to move fast to keep players engaged, even the biggest Digimon fans will drift away if the game loses appeal.

Sticking points in the first ‘General Availability’ version of the game

As this is the first version of Pokemon GO on general release much can be forgiven but we can see a few key areas where they can do better to engage with users:

Social Media Sign Up

Currently the only two options for singing up are with a Google account or the Pokémon Trainer Club. This complicates interaction among friends. There are many user groups and teams who have to go outside the Pokemon GO app to communicate while playing. Telegram, Whatsapp, forums and many more could be harnessed to get more sign-ups and link groups, what about registering using Facebook? This would allow for quick and simple connection between players and their contacts.

Friends interaction

One of the weakest features is that players are unable to interact with other players. A ranking of your Facebook friends would make it not only more competitive but way more engaging, as you could compare yourself to your community. Another thing that they could introduce is an internal message system to talk with other Pokemon trainers and a trading system would create a massive boost in interactions.

Pokemon GO unclear instructions

Even though tips are tagged to certain core events and items and they do a good job of helping navigate and learn the main points of the game there is plenty of room for improvement. Specific points like how to interpret the map, how to fight, how to level up and how to make your Pokemon stronger could definitely be made clearer.

Outstanding Pokémon GO Questions

There are already users who have collected every Pokemon in the Pokedex and this makes us ask ourselves what comes next? Currently only first generation Pokemon make an appearance so version two’s logical step is second generation Pokemon, but what does this mean to all the people who have not completed the Pokedex yet? A whole new batch of Pokemon will be great for the big hitters but for the slower players it moves the finishing line further away. There will have to be an introduction of segmentation and levels to maintain interest for all players on all levels.

Another thing that has to be considered is whether Pokemon GO will provide the same customer experience to all players or if they will segment by profile characteristics, such as:

  • Age, in game messaging only available above a certain age
  • Geography, it’s tough for someone miles from any body of water to find water based Pokemon

It’s going to be very interesting to see how demographics and profiles play into Pokemon GO strategy moving forward.

Pokemon Go 3

Chasm Jump

Many people don’t understand Pokemon GO and see it as just another game, even more have no idea that this is real world ‘Augmented Reality’. Up until now to most people ‘Augmented Reality’ was just more buzzwords in the news all the time alongside words like ‘Internet Of Things’. With the launch of Pokemon GO so opened the floodgates of understanding. Augmented Reality has been introduced to mass consumers and they love it. It may be a technical advance, it may be the future, it may be the next big thing but to me it’s simply fun and I didn’t need to buy any hardware as it’s already in my phone. Simple and fun, no better combination to achieve mass adoption of this cutting edge technology.

Perhaps even more importantly Pokemon GO has highlighted to the global business community how the physical and virtual world can be woven together seamlessly with gamification and then leveraged to attract and create engaged consumers. The methodology is now out there for all to see.

We already talked about attracting new customers when we discussed McDonald’s and its new poke spots: Gamification can be used in marketing strategy to add value to the customer experience.

We can also see this gamification campaign by Consum supermarkets, launched in partnership with Danone to enhance audience engagement and boost sales. Take a look at the video of the campaign.

There are many examples of gamification strategy implementation like Employee Engagement ‘Mini Deloitte’ achieved 10,000 unique registered users engaged in answering questions about company goals and strategy. These same game mechanics can be transferred to any organization and business type from colleges and universities to hospital and hotels from fashion and food chains right through to charities and non-profits. The game is on.

In closing, the term gamification has only been around since 2002 but gamification has been around since time began. From the military through to pretending baby’s spoon is an airplane. The difference now is that with this software gamification went digital and that is where it will continue to grow as employers can engage employees and business can engage with and find more customers. An engaged digital community, isn’t that what the Internet was for?

This post is also available in: Spanish

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