The Before Time is over; now we all live in a post-Pokémon Go world. Here’s how Nintendo’s latest bid at relevance will affect civilisation as we know it.
Major video-game corporation has millions of AR addicts hunting around their neighbourhoods for imaginary monsters. It reads like a bad cyberpunk novel, but Pokémon Go is very real. In a matter of days it’s taken over the world and the internet.
Already one thing’s for sure: Pokémon Go isn’t just another Flappy Bird, it’s a game that will have a lasting effect on society. Here are 5 areas that could be changed forever.
Pokémon Go’s insane popularity is a wake-up call to anybody investing in Augmented Reality and VR. The future will see countless apps trying to replicate Nintendo’s success. Developers will find new ways to gamify our interactions with real life and we’ll be more than happy to escape into them. The future will see us all living in a hyperreal illusion as the virtual replaces the real.
In the US where you can download Pokémon Go properly (instead of grabbing an illegal APK from the internet), the game has already changed the world of business. Small businesses are using the game to attract more customers, offering discounts to members of one of the game’s teams or buying Lures to turn their building into a Pokémon hotspot. Landmarks are seeing more visitors as they appear in the game as Pokéstops. People are even offering their services as Trainers for $20 p/hr. The future will see the further growth of the game’s own Pokéconomy.
There have been plenty of stories about Poké-crime. While a lot have been debunked there are a few that remain true. One involves somebody discovering a dead body while looking for water types, and another has robbers staking out a Pokéstop located in a dark alley. Those same Lure Modules mentioned above could also be used to lure players to a certain spot – ideal for muggers. While Team Rocket were constantly after Pikachu, Pokémon Go’s real life criminals are fine to settle for your wallet.
At a time when racism seems more prevalent than ever, Pokémon Go has brought people together. Pokémon Go could be the thing that gets people outside and visiting each other’s communities again (as the photo above shows). However, it’s also exposed the racial divisions that still exist. African-American players are afraid that playing the game as intended – wandering around unfamiliar neighbourhoods – could put them at risk of police harassment or worse for “acting suspicious”.
Already the game is fostering its own divisions. Players must choose to join one of three teams, and there’s no switching once you’ve picked. Team allegiances could divide offices, friends and families. Cities are becoming virtual battlegrounds as teams attack each other’s gyms. Meanwhile, the political parties of old are crumbling. In the future they will be replaced by Team Mystic, Team Valor and Team Instinct as they push their Pokémon catching philosophies on the nation.