Pokémon GO or STOP? The Rise and Decline of the Summer’s Hottest App
During your summer break, you might have noticed several crowds of people wandering through the local park, heads buried deep in their phones, stopping every few seconds to furiously swipe on their devices. While it may seem like these people were part of a cult, they were simply playing Pokémon GO, the hit app from developer Niantic and the Pokémon Company.
Pokémon GO is a virtual-reality based game, in which Pokémon from the Japanese video game and TV show appear “in the real world” on your phone. Using devices known as Pokéballs, you can capture and train these Pokémon to use in battles against other people’s Pokémon. The game uses a combination of virtual-reality and GPS tracking to bring the idea of Pokémon hunting to life.
Needless to say, the app was very popular, gaining 50 million downloads within its first two weeks on the App Store and the Google Play Store. The crazy news stories began soon after. Even with several warnings from Niantic to not play while driving and to pay attention to their surroundings, several people got in car crashes and even walked off cliffs while playing Pokémon GO. Secretary of State and presidential nominee Hillary Clinton even made a reference to the game while campaigning back in July.
Since then, the app has lost much of its popularity, mainly because of so many people returning to school and their busy lives. It also hasn’t helped that Niantic hasn’t released any new content, although they have released several compatibility patches that have streamlined gameplay and squashed in-game glitches. Niantic has, however, teased that more Pokémon and other new features will be coming in future updates.
But for now, the summer’s fad is slowly dying, even as new players jump on. It could fade into memory, but who knows what the future could hold. Hopefully for current players, it’s more Pokémon hunting.