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A.A. Roundtable: ‘Pokemon Go’

There is almost no way you haven’t heard of rising star that is Pokémon Go. The augmented reality App created by Niantic and Pokémon has reportedly swept the entire nation with an estimated 7.5 million downloads, and daily revenue stream of 1.6 Million dollars.

The Analog Addiction staff is not impervious to the desire to be the very best while trying to catch em’ all. As such, our Round table session pools the staff to discuss their concerns, highlights, and the possibilities of Pokémon Go.


Pokemon Go - Devon Avataor

Devon McCarty – Team Valor, Pokémon Seen: 40. Caught: 39

Devon McCarty – Team Valor

Concerns:

I worry right now about the ability to train and fight my Pokémon against others. Will I just be wandering the world and fighting characters that are there, or like the advertisements suggested, will I be able to meet another trainer in the park, and have our characters go PokeToe-to-Toe? I’ve been evolving and powering up a few of my characters, and Charmander (Now named Fireballs) and Pidgeotto (Cap’n Flap’n) could easily destroy any of the regular Pokémon in my region, but so far I can only catch them. I can’t fight any of them. There is just a huge component of the game I am missing. And if it’s not polished, this game is sure to fail.

Highlights:

So far my favorite moments have been the Item Pickup locations. They’re not just random places throughout your world, it seems Niantic has used the Google Earth mapping system to pick key landmarks to turn into Item pickups and Gyms. I’ve found a few Church’s, a post office, and most excitingly, a place called Wargear that holds trading card tournaments on a regular basis, all locations for item-pickups. The gym was the founders monument downtown. Which was an awesome moment because I wonder how much longer before the square is slowly filling with trainers ready for battle.

Possibilities:

I know we are in the early phases of the App, and we can fully expect several updated versions in the weeks to come, but the thing I am the most hopeful for are the community events. I live pretty close to the Football Hall of Fame. This is obviously years away, but I think it would be incredible if they held a giant event at that stadium. Where trainers from all over could show up to battle their Pokémon, and work on team boss battles like we saw in the Times Square segment of the promotional trailer. Again, we are years away from that point, but how could would that be?!


Pokemon Go - Jamie Avatar

Jamie – Team Valor, Pokemon Caught: 36. Seen: 38

Jamie Briggs – Team Valor

Concerns

My main concern with Pokémon GO would be the same issue I had with Miitomo – there just simply isn’t too much to do once you get over the initial introduction. Despite the fact I’m still having a lot of fun with Pokémon GO there is basically nothing to do if I am not traveling, which means the app becomes almost pointless when simply in the comfort of your own home.

In order to combat this, perhaps new features to interact and train your Pokémon to improve their skills could be introduced. But as it stands, that lack of content could be an issue going forward.

Fortunately the Pokémon name will certainly keep players interested longer than Miitomo, which lost player interest in a short space of time.

Highlights

Pokémon GO allows Pokémon to appear in the real world, despite only appearing in augmented reality the awesomeness of seeing the characters I grew up with strolling down my street is amazing. Pokémon GO also has several strong elements that have impressed me throughout the last few days. Despite Australia currently going through the middle of winter, I have found myself wanting to leave the warmth of my house in order to explore my local areas in search of Pokémon. This is an excellent accomplishment because it will encourage people of all ages to partake in physical activities with the incentive of finding more Pokémon.

Another interesting aspect of Pokémon GO is the Pokestops, which are assigned to notable and iconic locations throughout the world. These Pokestops not only reward players with hatchable Pokémon eggs, Pokeballs and items, but they also do an excellent job of showcasing the interesting location around your local area that you may have never known existed.

Physical activity and interesting knowledge of your surrounding locations are two aspects I never expected would ever be included in a Pokémon experience, but Pokémon GO have been able to do it with a subtle excellence that has truly impressed me. Oh, and catching a Kangaskhan sitting on my bed was also quite impressive.

Possibilities

As Pokémon GO has only just been released, the possibilities of what the application could eventually produce is endless. Despite this fact developer Niantic must first ensure the base content is smooth, this improving the current server support – which is struggling to say the least. I am fine without player vs player battles (for now) as long as the initial structure can be perfected to ensure a steady experience.

One of my main issues with Pokémon GO currently is the fact the application will not notify you when Pokémon are nearby or count your steps towards hatching Pokémon if the application is not open; which is a backwards idea for a mobile application. I hope that this is an issue that can be quickly fixed in the near future, as the idea that players must have the application open at all times in order to be notified of the application is absurd. If Niantic can introduce superior servers, quick fixes on simple problems and hopefully produce more options for players who are not traveling, Pokémon GO’s initial experience could be greatly improved.


Pokemon Go - Nathan Avatar

Nathan Manning – Team Mystic, Pokemon Caught: 20. Seen: 20.

Nathan Manning – Team Mystic

Concerns:

Like Jamie, my biggest concern is the lack of content at the moment. You catch Pokémon, visit Pokestops to replenish your pokeballs, and then visit gyms to capture them or fight against the Pokémon that are stationed there. There’s no PvP element to it, which is a strange exclusion considering how social the game is becoming. What’s going to happen a few weeks from now when people have had enough walking around finding the same pokemon? If the game really wants to survive in the long-run, then it needs more content. My other concern is people not looking up from their phones while walking, be aware of your surroundings people!

Highlights:

For me it’s more been about the crazy that has swept the internet than the game itself. People who I know are not hardcore gamer’s have memories of Pokémon from their childhood, whether that was playing the earlier games or watching the TV show. It’s great to see so many people talking about it and connecting over the idea of Pokémon roaming the streets. Catching my first Pokémon (Balbasaur in case you were wondering) was also a great realization that the game actually existed and wasn’t a gimmick as I originally thought it could be.

Possibilities:

There are plenty of possibilities for Pokémon GO. Big community events initiated by the developers would be a first. We saw a gathering in Sydney over the weekend with quite a big turnout, but it was organized by the community. I’d love to see the developers create some kind of timed events that encourage active users to flock to one spot for some reason. Perhaps something as simple as fighting a legendary Pokémon like the MewTwo in Times Square in the trailer. I honestly have no idea what’s going to happen with Pokemon GO, and the developers themselves have been very quiet on that end, but at least it’s out in the wild now and whetting our appetites for augmented reality Pokémon (even though the AR does not work properly with my phone).


Pokemon Go - Kosta

Kosta Canatselis – No Team. Caught: 13. Seen: 13.

Kosta Canatselis – No Allegiance

Concerns:

My biggest concern with Pokémon Go is the lack of a social presence in-game. Even though the game currently allows for the ability to catch Pokémon, go to poke-stops and even battle gyms we don’t have any grasp on the interaction between people in-game. The lack of knowing what friends are doing, who they are (in-game), where they’ve been and what Pokémon they have caught really detracts from the massive multiplayer online feeling. Pokémon Go should try to focus on social interaction, first and foremost, if it is to succeed in the long run.

Highlights:

What I love in the game is the real-locations we are led to by the map. These locations really allow people to experience and discover small urban locations and monuments in a neat way that would otherwise be hidden away. While catching Pokémon we’re able to almost uncover a wide array of unknown locations. The idea of gyms in real-life is also very interesting, and I love having to visit a particular place to overthrow the current champion, it really ties into the immersive nature of Pokémon Go.

Possibilities:

There is definitely a lot of improvement needed for this game to survive among the other mobile giant games. Some possibilities would be to create large community events for people to gather and all fight for a common goal. I think there should definitely be improvements to making the app simpler to use, perhaps a 2D mode to cut down on battery usage and linking accounts to Facebook to help propagate friends. More needs to be done in the friends area to help develop a more polished game and better social experience.


Pokemon Go - Robbie Avatar

Robert Key – Team Instinct. Caught: 27. Seen: 28

Robert Key – Team Instinct

Concerns:

My main concern is the lack of explanation on things in general. I understand the app wants you to explore, but it could certainly come with tutorials to explain a thing or two. I’ve been playing Pokémon since it debuted in the U.S. and video games for 20 years, and even I, along with fellow Pokémon masters, had a hard time understanding what certain things mean or do in the game. It might be difficult for anyone playing Pokémon or getting involved in the series for the first time.
And for God’s sake people: pay attention to where you’re going. It’s sad that anyone has to say this, but don’t be reckless to catch a virtual creature.

Highlights:

I talk about this more on my blog , but while it’s really rewarding walking around to PokeStops and catch Pokémon, it’s been indescribably wonderful running into other players in the real world. I live in a small town, and people have actually been getting out and seeing what the place has to offer because of it. I’ve also had some great conversations with people about which Pokémon they caught and where, random interactions with people they met and how the game has helped them to socialize more. I really hope Pokémon GO doesn’t die down any time soon because of these things.

Possibilities:

Hopefully more tutorials will be added in later updates to bring even more people to this sensation. I am also anticipating them adding, at the very least, the second generation of Pokémon too since Gold/Silver are my favorite games in the series. I can also see the battle system being more refined than simply having a boring tap-tap-dodge formula. Lastly, I would also like a way for Niantic to integrate ways for you to add friends so you can add them and see them on your map.


Did you download Pokemon GO? We want to hear some of your stories! What team are you? What have you caught? How many gyms are in your town? Let us know!!

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