Ah, yes. Pokey-mans, the beloved series that many of us 90's kids grew up with. I have such fond memories as a child, pretending that the world was crawling with quirky monsters crawling in nooks and crannies. I even had a Pikachu pj's that I wore, pretending to be the mascot for the multibillion-dollar company (The Pokémon company) and the parent (Nintendo). And look at it now, teaming up with a relatively unknown company to produce a super-giant of a AR-mobile game. As of this entry, it's surpassed Candy Crush for the most-downloaded title, dominating twitter over the most daily users, and the most searched term on Google (passing "porn"; Waoh! Unnnnnnnbelievable!).
That said, I'm trying out the app ahead of Canada's official release, 'cause my patience has run dry. And the verdict: meh.
First, to be clear, there's no doubt that the AR aspect is innovative, it's doing that part well. Niantic is, without a doubt, the forefront leader in AR geo-caching apps. They know what they're doing, and I've no qualms of them rolling out solid updates (seeing how quickly they've updated the system recently to v0.29.1 and v0.29.2).
The part I'm choking a bit is the content. It's quite lacklastre, even for a mobile game. Sure, there's the finding and catching, and the battling is kinda interesting, I guess. The levelling process is a struggle. Instead of battling like we usually do to raise the mons, we've got to literally feed smaller Pokémons to one big one to make them stronger. Indirect cannibalism much?
Now I've heard other trainers complain about the mash-fest of the battling mechanic, as well as Gyms being, well, useless. In all honesty, though, I think the mash-fest is the lack of strategy on the individual's part. I've found that actively dodging and attacking leads to better outcomes than mindlessly mashing the screen until the screen cracks, fingers bleed, and the server overloads. But I agree that Gyms are kinda a miss at this time (I only drop my mon into a gym every 24 hours to reap the reward for the day). I've got no idea how real-time battles would be integrated using the current battle system, though.
Which makes the future of trainer-to-trainer battles kinda bleak.
As for other contents, the game is less than week (well, 0 days for Canadans), so the meta is still in its infancy. Trainers are still uncovering new information regarding the spread of the mons, tactics on maximizing exp/catchrate, and holding onto the gym.
Now, I want to talk about the future of Pokémon GO. Clearly, this app is huge. It's making big waves all around the world for both its fame and infamy. We've seen thefts by luring trainers, and questionable pok'moning-and-driving, crazy jaywalkers, and dubious trespassing.
There are a flux of new opportunities, such as skyrocketing Nintendo stocks, Pokémon Daycare services that charge hourly for hatching eggs, chauffeur services, personal Pokémon Trainer trainer, and selling high-level accounts. Check them out [HERE].
But what's next? There are teams in GO, alluding to the 3 legendary birds, Valor, Instinct, and Mystic. It's not Farfetch'd to think that there are local teams in the making. These local teams, or sub-teams, would gather in a small group and actively search and conquer Gyms or create a lure party in a busy location. These teams need a name to distinguish from other cliques. For that, they need to hire amateur designers to design a logo and other stuff.
Here's a list of various predictions, from top of my head:
• If there's a way to do it properly, outdoor streaming on Twitch and YouTube gaming could become popular
• Organized City-Pokémon tours for tourists could be viable
• Businesses could take advantage of the Pokéstops to increase their revenue, as well as designating themselves as unofficial supporters of the Pokémon community by offering free samples of their product/services -- oh, and lures
• Using data from the app, businesses could find hotspots to place marketing campaigns to maximize their visibility
• Rickshaws will be increasingly popular alternative for mobility in the city
• Offering wifi/phone charging stations to attract Trainers to businesses
• Crowd-funding campaigns of various Pokémon GO related stuffs
• Long-time holder of Gyms start giving out badges to those that defeated them
• His Holiness Pope Francis to become the all-hailing leader of all the catholic church gyms
I'm honestly thrilled to what could come in the near future. Maybe I'll cash in on some of these ideas. Who knows.