Nintendo is a company that is always evolving how we play video games – whether by introducing the directional pad, creating the handheld game market, or making motion control a practicality. Nintendo has steadfastly held its own within the more “hardcore” gaming scene, creating an experience that all levels of gamers seek out and enjoy.
Unsurprisingly the company has suffered a bit of slump with poor sales of the Wii U, but Nintendo continues forging ahead with new innovations in gaming. The company’s latest, Pokémon GO – a collaboration with the mobile game developer Niantic – may prove to be Nintendo’s most innovative game yet. Having only launched late last week, and only in a handful of regions worldwide, the mobile game which sends players outside of their homes and into the world to catch and train Pokémon has become an instant sensation.
Though it’s still a tad too early to determine whether or not the game’s popularity will be sustained or merely a fad, there’s no denying the game has seen immediate success. Even as the high volume of players puts a serious strain on Niantic’s servers – which, as any Pokémon GO player can attest, seem to go down just when you find that rare Pokémon you’ve been hunting for the past hour – the game continues to trend on social media, where players share tips, their catching experiences, and images of all the amusing places they found a Magikarp flopping around.
Server issues aside, Pokémon GO continues to rise, quickly topping the charts in the Apple app store roughly a day after launch. As for Android users, there’s more solid evidence of the game’s popularity, with Pokémon GO installed on 5% percent of all Android devices according to data collected by SimilarWeb. Compare that to Tinder’s installment on 2% of all Android devices and you can see how Pokémon GO is already a real contender for most popular app around (and potentially a more effective date finder, creating impromptu meet-and-greets around your local PokéStop).
But unseating Tinder as the go-to way to meet strangers for some late-night activity (by which we mean battling it out at your closest Pokémon gym) isn’t all the game has achieved. According to SimilarWeb‘s findings, Pokémon GO is closing in on Twitter’s hold on Android users as well. As of Friday, June 7th, Pokemon GO comprised 3% of Android users’ daily activity, compared to Twitter’s 3.5%; at its current rate of growth Pokémon GO is expected to soon overtake Twitter. For a game less than a week old to outreach a worldwide social network of 10 years is pretty amazing – though time will tell if Pokémon GO can hold our attention as firmly as Twitter’s 140 characters updates.
In its short lifespan, Pokémon GO is already affecting the world in very real ways. There was a young woman who discovered a dead body while playing, which is certainly a boon to that criminal investigation, while others have used the game’s Lure feature as a means to rob unsuspecting players. For Nintendo, the launch of Pokémon GO has resulted in a rise in stock prices, with Monday, June 11th seeing a 25% jump alone; the company’s highest single day surge since 1983 (via CNBC).
Good or bad, it’s undeniable that Pokémon GO has managed something special. The game forces gamers to walk, enriching their lives with exercise and exploration. It’s helped players confront their own social anxiety, giving them opportunities to bond with strangers over a love of Pokémon. And it’s bringing communities together in unexpected ways – something you can easily observe at your nearest park, where I can guarantee you’ll see at least a dozen or so people walking around trying to catch ’em all.
Pokémon Go is available now on compatible iOS and Android devices.