What were the magical components behind Pokémon GO's success? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I never knew that Pokémon was going to be releasing a game designed with augmented reality. The last time I knew they were doing something was when they released something on Game Boy years back.
20 Years in the Making
In September of 1998, Pokémon hit the TV screens here in America. By October 2000, they were able to dominate Game Boys everywhere.
If you remember the TV show, Ash Ketchem started out his journey with Pikachu. His goal was to catch as many Pokémon as he could. When he went out on his journey, he started to conquer a few gyms and had a few nemeses in Team Rocket that would continue to show up, but ultimately he made a lot of friends along the way.
These friends in the show, like Misty and Brock, would join Ash on his journey to become the ultimate Pokémon trainer even though they shared the same goal. They were still able to go out there to fight for their cause together.
The Consistent Story
Basically, all we did was watch a TV show where a kid named Ash caught Pokémon, ran around, congregated with friends, overcame gyms, and caught all the Pokémon he could.
After the TV show came out, the game was released on Game Boy. People like you and me would hold a handheld device and stare at it. We would watch the main character go out there, catch Pokémon, run around, congregate with friends, overcome gyms, and catch all the Pokémon possible.
A few movies came out, too, and sequels of the game were released, and then for a long period of time Pokémon was unheard of. It would appear in a few other games like Smash Brothers, but that was the last time I heard of it.
While I was out there growing up and becoming responsible with my life, the Pokémon saga continued on with the younger generation. More TV shows were released along with games that would engage the younger audience.
Then, all of a sudden, Niantic released Pokémon GO.
The Patterns of Success
All the people who were watching Pokémon for the last decade were hopping on board to play the game.
But the interesting part here is that, much like how Toy Story 3 brought back a younger audience due to the nostalgic scene of Woody sitting with Buzz Lightyear that stated "You've got a friend in me," which turned it into the first animated film to hit a billion dollars and the highest-grossing movie of 2010, or like how research found that Dory was the favorite character in Finding Nemo, which turned Finding Dory into the fastest film to hit $300 million, Pokémon GO also brought back an audience nostalgic for their upbringing. Pokémon GO's audience no longer was just the new gamer. The audience spanned ages 4 to 44 as the game became a nostalgic moment that let us get back in touch with our childhood memories.
The Magical Components
People like me didn't even have to go out there and buy a new game device. We already had the phone in our hands. All we had to do was hear the chatter online, see early adopters catching Squirtles and Pikachus, try to download the game, have the servers crash on us a million times when trying to make a login so we want to play more, then have the game crash out when we finally get it up. Each tiny little struggle just made the game more desirable to have. Because others were playing it and we were just left out.
The Pokémon Phenomenon
But here's the interesting part of it all. Now, just like in the TV show and the video games, we are following the exact outline of the plot. People are actually going outside, catching Pokémon, running around, making and congregating with friends, overcoming gyms, and just recently, one person caught all the Pokémon possible in North America.
I don't understand how a game and TV show that came out over a decade ago could get people do the exact same thing it depicted on screen. There has to be some magical force behind that.
The Mystical Components
We could go with the logical answer here. By integrating with Google Maps, Pokémon forced the users of their game to go outside and congregate with others. By making lures and Pokéstops all around town, people are attracted to specific places. When one person finds a Pokémon, everyone joins together to catch it. It became a game where people act as a community and help each other achieve their goals together, just like in the world of the TV show. Plus, with the invention of eggs that require hitting a certain milestone, lazy people like me are forced to walk and get in shape.
We could say that all these components combined are what made Pokémon an international success...
We can go with a far-fetched answer that may even make more sense...
I've watched a lot of anime in my time. And in some of the anime I watch, there tends to be a council that is nearly immortal and decides what happens in the world. This immortal council consists of overlords who control the fate of the world.
After watching this phenomenon turn into a global success, and watching people do the exact same things in the video game, I've come to a conclusion. The founders of Pokémon GO are the immortal overlords that control the fate of our world. And it has to be true, too, because they partnered up with Google!