Pokemon have comeback in a major way, calling on players everywhere to catch ‘em all. The Japanese franchise reached the height of popularity during the late 90s, and is once again on everyone’s radar with the mobile augmented reality game Pokemon Go. The game was officially released last week in the United States for download on iOS and Android devices, and has since topped the charts in the App Store. According to App Analytics Company Sensor Tower, Pokemon Go has been downloaded an estimated 7.5 million times, with average daily usage outpacing Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.
Aside from being wildly popular and insanely addictive, Pokemon Go, which was developed with Google Maps, is taking gamification outside four walls and into the real world. Groups are playing the game together, visiting various points of interest, such as churches and other landmarks that appear as key stops within the game. Players walk around until they are alerted to a flick a Poke ball on their mobile phone screens to catch the creatures only visible in the camera app.
At first glance, Pokemon Go may seem like a silly fad, but there are actually a lot of lessons meeting planners can take from the game. People of all age groups and backgrounds are catching on to the craze. Even meeting groups can join in on the fun.
Teams can play the game together or against each other virtually anywhere in the U.S. Along the way, players discover nearby attractions they may not have known before. The tech-enabled team-building activity is free of cost, aside from optional in-app purchases.
Take some inspiration from Pokemon Go to make events more interactive and fun:
1. Boost networking: Because the virtual creatures appear in random locations in the real world, the game drives foot traffic to many physical landmarks. Well-placed local businesses are already experiencing the effects. In the future, the game’s creators plan to let businesses sponsor Poke stops (locations where players can collect virtual equipment).
Poke stops bring together people with common interests who might otherwise never meet. You can take advantage of this at your event. By sponsoring Poke stops or strategically placing beacons for use within an event game app, planners can encourage attendees to come together, mingle and make connections.
2. Get attendees moving: Playing Pokemon Go requires players to be active, leave the comfort of their couches and explore their surroundings in an exciting new way.
Meeting attendees are often stuck indoors all day; busy schedules leave them with limited time to visit the gym or explore the great meeting destination planners have selected. Use Pokemon Go or design your own scavenger hunt to lure attendees to key attractions throughout the city. Participants will love the opportunity to get out, get active and have fun.
3. Make it memorable: Although the technology has been around for a few years, Pokemon Go may finally make augmented reality mainstream. Using your smartphone’s GPS and camera brings virtual Pokemon to your backyard—literally.
Take your cue from the game and use augmented reality to enhance attendee experiences. Have you ever listened to a great speaker and immediately wanted to learn more about them? Augmented reality makes it possible for attendees to scan a marker on a speaker’s podium and instantly receive information about them. There are many inventive ways to use augmented reality to impress attendees and keep them talking about your event long after it ends.