Hype has a way of catching on, and before you know it something like a mobile game can become a global phenomenon. We saw that with the initial launch of Pokémon GO, which honestly feels like was forever ago at this point. A lot has happened in the world since we first saw hordes of people out there in the real world, descending upon landmarks and other areas all trying to catch that next digital pocket monster.
It's safe to say that Niantic's augmented reality game has fallen out of the zeitgeist since its first historic year of availability. We don't see waves of people out there trying to be the best trainer they can be. But that doesn't mean the game has fallen off to the wayside completely.
Niantic definitely could have let Pokémon GO fade away along with the hype and left it to die as they went on and worked on other things. But they haven't done that at all. The company still hosts global events, where players can interact with other trainers, collect rare pocket monsters, and more. And there are a variety of in-game events that happen, too. And Niantic keeps launching new creatures into the game to collect as well.
Basically, Niantic isn't letting the popular title die. And I imagine the company is getting rewarded by its most loyal player base. While I haven't personally launched the game on my phone in months, I know a few people personally who play the game every day. What's more, listening to excited players talk about the game is fun, too. I might not want to jump in anymore, but the fun is definitely still there for those who want to find it.
But that doesn't mean Niantic isn't working on other things.
For example, the company just launched a brand new and updated version of its first AR game, Ingress, with a bigger focus on story and game elements. That's available right now if you want to try another popular AR title which has a loyal community. Looking ahead, Niantic is working with Warner Bros. and PortKey Games to launch Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, which is another AR title utilizing the power of an already established IP.
Will Wizards Unite garner the same attention as Pokémon GO? It's impossible to argue that the fanbase for Harry Potter isn't anything other than massive, and it stands to reason that some folks will get a kick out of showing off magical abilities -- even if they are only digital and represented on their phone.
However, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't have the same impact as that Pokémon title. Harry Potter is definitely popular, but I think one of the reasons why Pokémon GO took off the way it did is partly because of the nature of the game. Yes, the brand is gigantic, but just the fact that fans of the franchise could actually go out into the world and catch (digital) pocket monsters is pretty fantastic.
Pokémon GO just makes sense as an augmented reality game.
So, I'm curious: Are you still playing the game? All these years later, is this a title that you still launch on your phone or tablet on a regular basis? And, if so, what about the title has kept you coming back? If not, what made you stop? Let me know!