By Jerry Maynard
The news about the arrival of Pokémon Go! has many a fan boy and girl excited for the upcoming entry into the Pokémon franchise but besides the fact that Pokémon will now be roaming the earth, there are a few other extremely large ramifications this game could potentially have. Besides the fact that trainers everywhere now can have real life rivals and trade and battle and catch in real life, (someone even suggested that a real life Team Rocket would form and people would bully others into trading them their Pokémon) there are some long term impacts that this could bring into the gaming industry in general that will drastically change the way we play video games with one another. Lets explore.
From what we know so far, the way the game will function is that when you go to various locations in the real world geographically, the game, (or the Pokémon Go Plus device if you decide to purchase that) will notify you when a Pokémon is located near your location, and then you can search for it using your phone’s camera to scan and find the Pokémon and then battle to catch it. This will create enough interesting moments in family vacations and target and grocery store trips alike, however the impact this has on general gaming is quite interesting in that Nintendo could be paving the way for other game developer’s to start making augmented reality events a normal part of how mobile gaming works. With the rise of mobile games, and other AR games like Ingress, imagine if major gaming companies began producing mobile platform games in which you had to actually go visit various real locations in order to complete quests or challenge specific enemies who can only be found in locations such as the ark in St. Louis, or Disney World, or in New York City.
What would it be like if when you were traveling in the car to various locations you were also simultaneously gaining supplies or crafting materials for your current adventure in gaming? Nintendo has already been doing something similar to this in its streetpass feature, which gives you various things depending on the game, for passing by other players but it requires you to have your Nintendo 3DS turned on or in sleep mode. In World of Warcraft your character gains experience for exploring new areas of the world of Azeroth but imagine if this played out in an augmented reality version of the game in which as you went to new places in the real world your character gained experience as well.
Geographically based experiences also help to create a genuinely unique play experience for every single player, and no two players will have the same experience. In most games one could decide on how they want their game to play out before they have even begun, thanks to the large amount of online databases for videogames. When each player’s experience is affected by where they live geographically, and what places they have decided to visit in real life then the gaming experience becomes as unique and individualized.
Imagine having a game in which you are the only person who has ever been able to work through the adventure using the specific tools given to you. Now ideally the game would still be able to be completed despite not having been to everywhere in the world that has geographic quests, items, enemies or drops, but the idea is that what quests you complete or what items or enemies you gain and face are different per player depending on your own travels and life. Pokémon Go could be an excellent model for that given how even in the original games Pokémon are found in various locations depending on events like climate, world events and locations in whatever region that game is in. Those seem to be features that could easily be brought into an AR game as well given how that’s how animals work in the real world. I’m quite excited to see what they do with it honestly!
The game also has the potential to change the way gaming communities function for video games. Currently, much of the industry is focused on online gaming, but in a world where augmented reality is a normal method of playing video games people might genuinely get back to the days where we all gather together to play with one another and be in the same room in real life (We miss you LAN parties).
All and all, these are a lot of ambitious ideas, but if we don’t dream big then what will happen?
Keep on dreaming big and chase those dreams y’all
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