It’s fair to say that Pokemon Go is something of a smash hit: it has more users than Twitter, corporate sponsors lining up, spinoff products already in the works (including a dating service) and, it would seem, a live-action film adaptation in the pipeline. It’s even caused stampedes in real-world locations when exotic Pokemon pop up; whether this is another notch on the game’s belt or not, we leave to your discretion.
The latest headline the app has made, however, is one that, perhaps, no one quite expected to see just two short weeks after its release: a user has managed to realize the franchise’s tagline of “Gotta catch ‘em all!” Well, kinda, anyway.
Reddit user ftb_hodor has recently announced (h/t Polygon) that he has acquired 145 Pocket Monsters, catching 4,269 Pokemon in total and hatching 303 eggs (which required him to walk 153 kilometers). His hunting regime had him devoting more than 50 hours a week to the title.
For all those eagle-eyed (or is that Braviary-eyed?) readers out there, they might catch the little fact that 145 is actually six short from Nintendo’s publicly-stated roster of 151. This is because a number of the little critters are, well, extremely difficult to find, with a smattering of these being region-exclusive (Tauros is only in North America; Mr. Mime, Europe; and Farfetch’d, Asia) – although it is possible (at least, in theory) to hatch eggs and have all the monsters pop out, even the rare ones.
What’s interesting about this scenario is the ramifications it’s going to have not only on future updates or installments of mobile Pokemon, specifically, but also on all subsequent apps, generally. Despite all the collective hours poured into the game to date, only a handful have seemingly managed to hatch the territory-specific breeds here in America and Canada, which can lead to either complaints of only wealthy gamers being able to realistically finish up their Pokedexes (since who else would be able to devote the money and time to literally flying around the world?) or tons of money being spent on buying other users’ portfolios on eBay. Either way, that effectively prevents the vast majority of players from completing Go – which can lead to some pretty substantial blowback.
Then again, given that McDonald’s has already stepped up to the plate (in Japan) to purchase certain Pokemon hotspots in order to place them throughout a number of its stores – which, in turn, would ensure a steady flow of customers, of course – it’s not that inconceivable to see a near-future in which these rare creatures can be nabbed once users spend a certain of time (or money?) at the sponsors’ premises. As in economics, in which value is intrinsically determined by an item’s or resource’s scarcity, Nintendo and developer Niantic will have to juggle the value of its resident Pokemon versus the value of consumers’ time and purchasing power. It just may be that the pair have backed themselves into a corner that is very difficult to get out of cleanly.
Pokemon Go is available for download on Androd and iOS mobile devices.