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Hot Topic! The “Pokémon GO” Craze All Over the World!

“Pokémon GO”, the new game service eagerly awaited by fans all over the world has finally launched in the United States in July 2016. Once it was made available on the night of the 6th on the app store for iOS and Android, it rose to the top of the ranking charts in merely 5 hours. In response to this explosive popularity, the stock price of Nintendo, the developer, shot up quickly and went over the maximum allowable daily gain, and its trading was temporarily shut down.


What Is Pokémon GO?


In short, Pokémon GO is an experiential game that uses GPS location information service. It is a smartphone application game released from the collaborative work between Nintendo Co., Ltd. and Niantic, Inc., USA. You can catch Pokémon characters in the real world, and raise or exchange them, or bring them to battles. Because Pokémon may appear anywhere in the real world, either in the town or in the building the player is in, the player will keep the game application activated while he or she wanders around the town in order to catch and raise them. Pokémon has been a widely played popular game since the 1990’s; however the launch of this Pokémon GO this time has finally connected the real world to the world of Pokémon.

For more detail, please refer to this article: Encounter Pokemon Downtown!? Pokemon GO Scheduled for Release in 2016!


Effects of Pokémon GO


Since the Pokémon GO service has been launched, it is already turning itself into a global social phenomenon. Whether it is good or bad, many incidents have been associated with it in all sorts of places, because it is highly influential. Let us introduce a few topics related to Pokémon that have recently been covered in the news.


Used by Stores and Towns as a Tool to Attract Customers


This game has paid items called “Lure modules” that attract Pokémon to certain areas. It is reported that businesses started employing this item as a marketing strategy.  Apparently some attempts have been already made in restaurants and stores in which they placed this item to attract Pokémon so that Pokémon GO players would come visit their businesses.

However you can use the Lure module only where a “Pokestop” is located, so the locations where you can use it are consequently limited.

*Pokestop: Locations where you can obtain items, etc. to be used within the game.


You Can Make More Friends and Acquaintances


By going out to find Pokémon, players will exchange valuable information or teach each other how to play the game. It is said that the service has helped create exchange between people through the game.

There are players of Pokémon GO from children to adults regardless of age and gender, so the service is expected to continue to bring forth more exchange in various places and across different generations.


Remedying Lack of Exercise and Obesity


This effect is an oft-mentioned hot topic on the net media abroad. Because the players started to go out and walk in order to find Pokémon, it is expected to lead to remedying lack of exercise and obesity.

While we can find such positive effects, there have been negative effects as follows.


Emergence of Armed Robbery Group Targeting Users


It is reported that Pokémon GO players met an armed robbery group in the state of Missouri, USA. The group was ambushing players at Pokestops or other locations where players can catch Pokémon. The criminals appear to be already apprehended, but because the game utilizes GPS function, there are likely to be chances for similar incidents to take place in the future, too.


Accidents Have Happened while Looking for Pokémon


Because players walk while checking locational information on their smartphone screens, they tend to pay less attention to where they are going and things and circumstances around them. Players have met various accidents or their behaviors ended up becoming nuisances as they have been too absorbed in the game.

A variety of news is reported every day involving Pokémon GO, such as traffic accidents, falling off cliffs, or trespassing into restricted areas.

Today many people use smartphones, and accidents resulting from walking while using smartphones have already been happening frequently. But when you are playing a game like Pokémon GO, your attention is more likely to be absorbed, so it is wise to be especially cautious about it.


The service of Pokémon Go has also started in other countries one after another, and Japanese fans’ anticipation for the release has been heating up with zeal. The fundamental core of creating a new technology or service is to give new excitement to people. We would like to play this game with great care and awareness so that the players can enjoy the game as much as possible and the new service, which had been painstakingly created, won’t inadvertently produce ill effects.

Pokémon has kept bringing changes to the world. And this time here we have the new Pokémon GO. Who knows what the next development is? We cannot take our eyes off of it.

Related Articles:
Amazing View of Tottori Sand Dunes; Hot Spot for Being Open to Pokemon GO Players

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About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

View all articles by KAWATA