Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go’s Impact on Society

  • Pokemon Go’s release in 2016 proved to be a major social phenomenon.
  • The game used augmented reality (AR) technology to bring the popular Pokemon franchise into real world settings.
  • Enabled users to catch virtual Pokemon and interact with locations called “PokeStops” and “Gyms” in their local environment.
  • Gamification of the outdoors, encouraging players to explore their local area and visit landmarks.

Production Context

  • Developed by Niantic, an American software development company, in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokémon Company.
  • Utilises proprietary technology from Google Maps to create the game world.
  • Said to have redefined the realm of mobile gaming through its innovative use of existing technologies.

Audience Reception

  • Experienced a huge uptake in players, becoming the most downloaded app in its first week in App Store history.
  • Received positive and negative attention from media outlets upon release.
  • Encouraged physical exercise and social interaction, with group meet-ups and events organised between players.
  • Criticism stemmed from concerns over player safety, trespassing issues and prompting dangerous behaviour.


  • Built upon the extensive lore of the Pokemon franchise, incorporating hundreds of creatures with varied designs and attributes.
  • Pokemon are categorised by ‘types’, which provide a simple way to classify and understand the game’s complex system.
  • Empowers players by giving them the title of ‘Pokemon Trainer’, providing a sense of achievement and progression.

Media Language

  • Uses geo-based AR technology to incorporate real-world locations into the gaming experience.
  • Visual language includes bright, bold graphics and familiar Pokemon designs to leverage nostalgia from existing fans of the franchise.
  • User Interface is accessible and intuitive, designed to be user-friendly even for those not familiar with the traditional Pokemon games.

Context of Industry

  • Pokemon Go generated more than $1 billion in its first year, highlighting its significant economic impact.
  • Has had a lasting impact on the mobile gaming industry and set a high bar for AR gaming applications.
  • Led to further development in AR and VR gaming technology, setting trends and attracting significant investment in the sector.