Question Your World: How is Pokemon Impacting the World?

Posted: May 31, 2017

Pokemon debuted in 1996 and, since then, has become a mainstay in the world of cartoons, comics, and video games. Despite the fact that it’s two decades old, the newly released smartphone game (Pokemon Go) is proof that the franchise is doing better than ever. How will this game and its augmented reality technology impact the future? Let’s dig into some Pokemon and augmented reality to see how it’ll impact our actual reality. How is Pokemon impacting the world? 

On July 6, 2016, Pokemon Go made its debut. In just the first five days, the game got nearly 7.5 million downloads. Even more impressive is that, in under a week, it had more users than popular dating app Tinder has had in the last five years. Clearly we are all swiping right for Pokemon and its creative use of augmented reality. There’s a lot of interesting stuff surrounding this topic, ranging from health and wellness to technological evolution.

In order to play the game, users must go out into the real world and use their phone as a window into this fictitious world. Game creators have used GPS plots to leave their pocket monster creatures in various locations for users to find upon arrival at these various poke-stops. This has caused some backlash among people that feel like this is just another distraction from more traditional means of recreation. Despite the negative comments, the game is growing in popularity and has had some positive impacts on users. 

There are many reports coming in on how this game is helping people get out of the house and add a little bit of walking time into their daily routines. The immediate benefit may be some gentle exercise for current users, but the long term implications could be massive. Keep in mind that this video game is a really great way to introduce the concept of augmented reality to the minds of the next generation’s thinkers and makers. 

So, what is augmented reality? Simply put, it’s a means to give users digital information in real time. This could be for passive information distribution or interactive elements as well. Creators and technologists have been toying around with the concept of AR since the late 1950′s with things like Sensorama, a simulation portal that allows users to see, smell, and hear sounds from various places. Since then the concepts and technologies involved have gone much further. Pokemon Go is a great example of a practical application for augmented reality. Sure, it’s a game, but we have to start somewhere, right? Future generations could harness the world of augmented reality to revolutionize various fields like architecture, education, medicine, construction, and beyond. 

If you look at various other forms of technology and their impacts on life, you’ll quickly see that one invention often makes way for a myriad of others to follow. For example, if you lived the majority of your life before the light bulb was invented, then chances are, you probably would not think that light-up shoes would ever be a reality. However, being born into a world where light bulbs are commonplace, the concept of light-up shoes no longer seems like a far-fetched thought. Similarly, augmented reality is just another invention. This is a concept that was created based on technologies and resources available at the time. So, who knows what remarkable accomplishments will come at the hands of those that grow up in a world where augmented reality is fairly commonplace. 

Perhaps this will lead to medical technology being created for students to see how blood cells work with one another or how diseases spread in a living system without ever having to use or harm a living system for the sake of testing. Maybe someday this concept will be made standard in schools where photosynthesis is explained when you put your device next to a flower or plant. There are still many applications left for this technology in the vast open landscape of innovation. For now, Pokemon Go has ignited the world of video gaming and is having some great impacts on health, education, and advancing the potential applications of augmented reality. 

While this game is now considered the most popular game on Earth, there are still some people that are not embracing or supporting the use of augmented reality. So, how do we get those people onto the augmented technology bandwagon? It’s simple. You just poke ‘em on.