The Pokémon Go phenomenon has growth at record pace, its creator Nintendo stock jumped by 70 percent, boosting its market value from £13bn to £19.6bn.
In just eight days, Pokémon GO is on track to overtake Twitter in number of daily users on Android which is astonishing given the lack of success of Virtual Reality immersion to Augmented Reality on mobile phones cameras has been at best slow to an experimental side line for companies.
It's a clever design in that its combines a existing well known brand with the power of modern smart phones with GPS and maps to overlay a gamification experience.
Its "freemium" approach is a classic scaling approach of free installation and in-game purchases of prizes in virtual money and virtual goods such as playable digital objects. It also leverages crowd participation and broaden the appeal of not just being local-global personal "in my house and street" to playing with friends in shared virtual spaces. It seems to have got the fine lone balance of User Experience UX right this time with attractive and scalable involvement that draws you into an addictive gaming experience.
The blurring of Physical world and the Virtual world into what is called "Mixed reality MR " presents interesting new opportunities for business and risks in legislative and personal privacy issues.
Companies are already realizing that "virtual advertising space can be displayed a lot side "in-game" experiences with the captive user audience. What is driving this is the traffic numbers, with such a high daily user base it is a ready market to sell local-global to. It's always about the traffic and net promoter score NPS and this platform have this as a strong bargaining play for companies to get on board is platform. It is what will also decide the fate of Facebook Oculus Rift, Microsoft HoloLens to Google Home and Amazon Echo as these new platform centric devices will crave and need users to develop their platform services.
But it is also the collection of personal geolocation data, and the safety of walking around and interacting with the Augmented environment. While Pokémon Go has the options for an avatar identity to anonymize the user it also presents issues over consent. Nianticlabs the makers of Pokémon Go, state this in their Privacy Agreement to avoid identification if you in the game.
So immersion in the augmented virtual world does still have data protection and usage clauses that recognize this blurring of what is real. Contract law is evolving to consider these issues. It seems more the concerns are in the physical safety of being distracted in the virtual world when an unplanned physical event happens. Keep your wits about you will be a new skill in using these devices and knowing the difference of when something is real and unreal will become increasingly harder to distinguish.