3 days past since Pokemon Go launched in Japan and we have enjoyed the game so far. we walked a lot from one park to another to collect Pokemon and items. Occasionally we checked in some gyms to see if we can take over.
It is good exercise and fun. It connects the whole world through generations from the young to the old (except for some countries which opposed to the game out of the security fear.). It is totally a new world from the old Pokemon games.
People travel distance just to get some items and just walk or run to earn some miles for the Pokestops. The world sees almost for the first time the computer "obviously" controls the people. As the computer behind the game does not really care the safety of individuals one by one ( even those who programmed the computer care a lot), we also witness many hurt or even die trying to catch Pokemon (we called such accident, "Poke-Jiko (ポケ事故 or Pokemon accident)" and death, "Poke-shi (ポケ死 or Pokemon death)"). Since its launch (for 4 days) 36 Poke-Jiko (only car related) occurred (NHK). It is terrible to see the increase of such incidents (in many cases between a gamer(s) and non-gamer(s)).
This game brings many of those who used to stay at home playing video games, out of their homes. This is good on one hand, and not good on the other hand. Some of this type of people may not know how to behave in public and may act in a harmful way in public.
There are a lot of homework in this regard for the company to protect the safety of the people. The media will talk about this a lot so we do not feature this challenge [ we featured what you need to be careful with the game here].
Biggest Risk "Boredom"
Here we feature another challenge. The boredom. The word any game company is afraid most. This kills most of the games in the end.
Pokemon GO connects all people. Because of this great connectivity, we see a big challenge for Pokemon GO in the near future.
When we played the old Pokemon games, we could battle basically only with our classmates who somehow played on the same ground. The strong ones were not "that" strong. We can get all the Pokemons from our console anywhere we are.
Today with Pokemon GO we noticed many of the gyms in the cities were taken over super-strong Pokemon put by the "professional gamers" who know all the tricks and pay as much as money to get the strongest Pokemon even stronger. To get good or special Pokemons, we can not just get it from our console. We need to go out to the big cities. Many in the country side have problem finding even Pokestops nearby. The professionals go to the big cities and come back to country sides to put their super strong Pokemon on the local gyms. We can not really match these "professional" Pokemon gamers whatever we do ( unless we pay some amount of money to travel for some special locations in the cities and pay for items).
Due to its nature, the power game in Pokemon GO reflects the social division (say geographic, say financial etc.) very acutely and this can make this game very boring for many in the end.
This is how many kids feel, who play with just some limited time ( and maybe some allowance). The gyms are located at some public parks where kids gather but there is no chance for normal kids to win at the gym. Currently even kids need to fight professional boxers at their local gym and few dare to try even.
Because Pokemon GO put us all together with these professionals, the game becomes more and more boring. Probably the company needs to bring about the boxing like league system such as super flyweight, heavyweight etc. Or, good idea to have some system to have a private battle between individuals. If this is possible, there shall be zillions of "private" gyms and the pressure on the server shall be massive. Thus, the operating company would not want to do it easily.
How to keep all users excited yet with the company remaining in good profit. This will be a major challenge for Niantic, Google, the Pokemon company and Nintendo.
Possible Interest Conflict
Another risk... is that a potential conflict of interest among these companies which run the game. Google and Niantic have a significant power over this game. It is not too much to say that because Google was involved, this Pokemon GO hype has happened. Yet, as the owner of Pokemon, Nintendo is most likely to have wished it had more say on how to drive this game and had a bigger piece of the cake. Nintendo could also say that without Pokemon, Niantic would be nothing ( in fact, Ingress, a Niantic's AR game which is the basis of Pokemon GO, was not really a popular game).
Seeing its stock price is sky-rocketing, some days ago Nintendo officially announced that the company would not profit much from Pokemon GO. This indicates the profit portion for Nintendo IS small, probably much smaller than it really wished. If not solved early, this type of frustration will evolve into a big issue in the future. Probably some law long lasting suits amongst these parties.
We presume that what Google planned to create is the GPS based platform to motive the public dances and to cover the most of the globe getting the personal information (behavior/movement/purchase etc.).
At the end of day, Pokemon is just a content to consume on the platform. When people turn away from Pokemon (when the content is consumed), Google will put another content like Disney or Warner Bro or a totally difference face on the platform.
This is what Nintendo must be so afraid of. This is what we think will make the interest conflict worse in the future (we hope not!).
Next Step for Pokemon Go
If we were Niantic and Google, a next probable move with Pokemon GO would be
1) to increase the number of gyms to flatten the power balance
2) to integrate the real world into the virtual reality even more. For example, the shop can issue some voucher the user can really use at the shop. Such that the people can get a voucher at McDonald's (a pokestop) to get some free drink for the menu purchase. This can easily keep people excited with new deal/voucher(s) and new venue to issue such deal/voucher(s). And...more importantly, this does not increase too much cost to customize the current game platform.
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Source: Wikipedia, NHK news
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