Pokémon Go – Innovation in the gaming industry

Critically analyze the impact of Pokemon Go on society and people.

"pokemon go" by Paintimpact is licensed under CC BY 2.0


In today’s society, science and technology develop very rapidly, and people enjoy entertainment in endless ways. Games are undoubtedly one of the best pastimes. And new games have used many new technologies such as AR and VR technology. Both VR (virtual reality) technology and AR (augmented reality) technology are developing rapidly in 2016 (Slavin, 2016). All major game companies are preparing to use new technologies to create new ways of gaming, and players are also waiting for a visual display of Technological innovation. Pokémon Go is a game born in this environment. However, due to the particularity of the game itself, this game has also caused a lot of controversies.

This essay will illustrate the basic function of Pokémon Go first. Then the history of Pokémon Go and the relationships between creator companies will be provided. The third part will be analysing the advantages and disadvantages of the game. The next part will include the influences of the game. Finally, future prediction and game analysis will be given.


What is Pokémon Go?

Pokémon Go is a game that uses AR technology. Unlike virtual reality, Pokémon Go is a game that allows people to interact with virtual characters in real life. Players can discover Pokémon in real life through their mobile phones, and capture and fight against them. This novel gaming experience also makes Pokémon Go completely different from other games.

Differences between AR and VR

“Trainer” is the role played by the player in the game. Players can customize their own characters freely in the game, choose gender and clothing. When the player is playing, the role in the game will change as the player’s position changes in reality.

Pokémon in the game will randomly appear on the map, and players can use props to catch them. There are many types of Pokémon, so the goal of many players is to gather all types of Pokémon, but this is not a goal that must be completed. In many places of historical interest or crowded areas, Pokémon’s chances of appearing will become very high, which is also one of the characteristics of the game (Geroimenko, 2019).


History of Pokémon Go: New technology innovation

Pokémon Go is a game jointly developed by Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Google Niantic Labs. Nintendo is responsible for the development and distribution of the game. Pokémon is responsible for the setting of game content and the shaping of game characters. Finally, Google Niantic Labs is responsible for the support of AR technology to ensure that the game can run normally. This augmented reality role-playing game was released for the first time in Australia and New Zealand on July 7, 2016. It is available for players to download in the iOS App Store and Android Google Store respectively (Bauer, 2020).

This game took the world by storm in just one day, and Nintendo’s stock price rose sharply within a few days, and all parties in the industry received rave reviews. The markets in Australia and North America, which were the first to open after the game was launched, received positive feedback (Tang, 2017). The frequent cross-zone logins around the world have caused servers to be overwhelmed, forcing developers to activate emergency lock zones. The open areas, especially the streets, alleys, parks, and scenic spots of major cities in Australia, are filled with “trainers” for a time, and the scenes are comparable to festivals. This bold attempt made Nintendo augmented reality technology a great success on platforms other than its own console products. This may be unexpected for Nintendo, which has always been known for its conservative and cautious nature.

Some people think that the success of Pokémon Go will be a new milestone in the history of the game business, and Nintendo may take this to become the leader in the global game industry. Nintendo overtook Sega and Sony in the competition between consoles, handhelds and game content at the end of the last century and became the best in the video game industry. With the rise of the Internet in the world in the 21st century, new hosts and new game communication modes have changed the ecology of the game industry. Nintendo, which has always been conservative, has finally faded due to the frequent adoption of new technologies and more flexible tactics by rivals Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo’s stubbornness in the industry is manifested in two points. The first is to adhere to Nintendo’s core gaming culture, which is to play games for all ages. The second is to insist that traditional consoles and handhelds are the orthodoxy of electronic games, and be cautious with new consoles, new technologies, and new platforms (Nintendo History, 2020). However, this time through AR technology, Nintendo has successfully brought new ways of gaming into people’s lives.


Relation diagram


Marketing diagram


From the market point of view, the most willing country and region to spend money for Pokémon GO is the United States, which has contributed 1.5 billion US dollars to this game. This is followed by Japan and Germany, which contributed USD 1.3 billion and USD 238 million respectively (Geroimenko, 2019). In response to the global outbreak, Pokémon GO adjusted in March 2020 so that players can play games at home. These changes include increased rewards for capturing Pokémon and items used to attract magical creatures to players (Wu, 2018).


The positive impact of the game

In Pokémon Go, the amount of Pokémon generated near the player’s environment greatly affects the game experience. Therefore, the number of urban people has a very high positive correlation with the number of Pokémon points.  Even in the same city, the gap between a big city and a small city is obvious, not to mention the difference between a bustling city and a remote country. Such a feature shows that Pokémon Go can indeed drive the upsurge of sightseeing in certain places and reactivate areas that were rarely visited.

Games also contribute to promoting people’s social interaction. Players can create and improve self-awareness through social media platforms, and the game environment gives us more opportunities and various potential rewards, allowing us to interact more frequently and closely with new friends or other people. This has largely helped those people who are afraid of social interactions, and it has also allowed them to find suitable ways to communicate with others (Liu, 2017). There are many interesting stories that happened after Pokémon Go players met while looking for Pokémon on the Internet. Obviously, games encourage face-to-face social interaction in the virtual environment and the real world.

This game is also very helpful to people’s health. Modern people sit for most of the day. Sitting for 8 to 12 hours a day is very harmful to the body. When people are enthusiastically obsessed with this game, they have unknowingly changed their sub-healthy lifestyle. Because of the mechanics of the game, players have to go out every day to gain, which greatly increases the amount of people’s exercise. In terms of social interaction, Pokémon Go has attracted some people with social phobias and autism to join. When they play this game, they have to go out and interact with other people, which is good for them. Try and exercise opportunities (Khalis, 2018).


Personal safety and privacy disputes

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game for mobile phones. The map of the game world is the map of the real world. The location of the Pokémon is overlapped with the real place, including downtown streets, parks, apartment building stairs or office building rooms.

Unlike other games, the biggest feature of Pokémon Go is that it does not allow players to stay at home but encourages players to go out. Players in parks and other places have aimed their cameras at trees, benches or any other places where Pokémon may appear.

When the level is upgraded to a certain level, you can enter the nearby gymnasium to compete. The winner becomes the owner of the gymnasium. A gymnasium is also a real place, including libraries, stadiums, sports halls, and even many important places such as the White House And military bases are also set as official gyms on the map.

Due to the characteristics of Pokémon Go, players are too focused on finding nearby Pokémon, and people playing in some remote places may face less friendly realistic crowds. Robbers use Pokémon Go’s Pokestop, gymnasium, and Pokémon to rob players staring at their phones (Serino, 2016). In just one week, the number of Pokémon Go players is close to Twitter’s daily active users. Cases of players neglecting work and driving because of playing games are also constantly appearing (Wagner-Greene, 2017).

In addition to guiding players to designated locations that may be located in private places, real-world positioning games have also caused greater privacy disputes. For example, Pokémon Go requires the player to turn on the camera of the mobile device to see the Pokémon in the real scene. This means that the player will record everything he/she sees. As the player needs to provide real-time GPS location information and camera access when playing Pokémon Go, the player’s personal privacy is easily stolen (Pokemon GO caught millions of players and their data., 2016).


Impact on society

Faced with the trend of game technology brought by new technologies, no matter whether it is for or against, the direct or indirect impact cannot be avoided. Even various governments have begun to consider amending laws to ban certain improper gaming behaviours, or at least issue warnings and prohibit playing Pokémon GO in certain areas.

For me, it is wrong to complicate or simplify the impact of technology. Technology should be neutral. The use of technology does not only bring about positive or negative effects but depends on how people use it. However, it is easy for people to neglect the characteristics of individual technology and miss out on the opportunity to use the technology appropriately through careful understanding (Chong, Y., Sethi, D., Loh, C., & Lateef, F, 2018).

Regarding the negative impact of the game, it cannot be denied as no, but it can be resolved. In fact, when logging in to the game, the game itself has already added a safety reminder. There are many other ways to avoid accidents. For example, when GPS locates a road or near the intersection, the system will automatically pop out of the warning window, and it cannot be closed manually. The window will not disappear until the player leaves the original position to change the GPS position.

And the game itself has many areas that can be improved. For example, game quality. The reason why many players like this game are its novel interactive way. Game companies can increase the level of refinement in-game modelling to increase player interest. The gameplay method can also be appropriately increased, and the interaction with other players can become more convenient. The above methods can allow players to play Pokémon Go more safely and can also make the life of the game longer.



Pokémon Go can be said to have completely become part of the lives of some people. The new game style of this game has left a deep impression on people, whether it is a game enthusiast or a non-playing person. It is true that people have mixed reviews about it, but it does bring happiness to people, and some people do make friends through games. From the entertainment point of view, Pokémon Go is a sufficiently attractive game. From a lifestyle perspective, it can provide more social opportunities. I think the security and privacy issues brought about by games will also be resolved with the advancement of technology in the future.


Reference list


Bauer, T. (2020). The History of Pokémon Go and its Impact. Retrieved from https://comicyears.com/gaming/mobile/the-history-of-pokemon-go-and-its-impact/


Chong, Y., Sethi, D., Loh, C., & Lateef, F. (2018). Going forward with Pokemon Go.(Review Article)(Report). Journal of Emergencies, Trauma, and Shock, 11(4), 243–246. https://doi.org/10.4103/JETS.JETS_87_17


Geroimenko, V. (2019). Augmented Reality Games I Understanding the Pokémon GO Phenomenon  (1st ed. 2019.). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-15616-9


Khalis, A. (2018). Who’s Gotta Catch  ’Em All?: Individual differences in Pokèmon Go gameplay behaviors. Personality and Individual Differences, 124, 35–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2017.11.049


Liu, W. (2017). A Pilot Study of Pokémon Go and Players’ Physical Activity. Games for Health Journal, 6(6), 343–350. https://doi.org/10.1089/g4h.2017.0036


Nintendo History. (2020). Retrieved from https://www.nintendo.co.uk/Corporate/Nintendo-History/Nintendo-History-625945.html


Pokemon GO caught millions of players and their data.(PRIVACY). (2016). Information Management Journal, 50(5), 12.


Serino, M. (2016). Pokémon Go and augmented virtual reality games: a cautionary commentary for parents and pediatricians. Current Opinion in Pediatrics, 28(5), 673–677. https://doi.org/10.1097/MOP.0000000000000409


Tang, A. (2017). Key factors in the triumph of Pokémon GO. Business Horizons, 60(5), 725–728. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bushor.2017.05.016


Wagner-Greene, V. (2017). Pokémon GO: Healthy or Harmful? American Journal of Public Health, 107(1), 35–36. https://doi.org/10.2105/AJPH.2016.303548


Wu, L. (2018). Exploring the marketing potential of location-based mobile games. Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing, 12(1), 22–44. https://doi.org/10.1108/JRIM-06-2017-0041

Allen Jiang
About Allen Jiang 4 Articles
I am currently an undergraduate student at Sydney University. I'm studying in bachelor of Liberal Arts and Science and majoring in digital culture. Photography and comics are my hobbies. I have a high interest in modern information technology.