Pokemon GO is not a testament of success for Augmented Reality

Pokemon GO is everywhere. People have been playing it all over the world, even though it isn’t yet available in most parts of the world.

It is driving traffic to app download mirrors, local businesses, religious places and what not. In just a week of release, it has crossed Tinder’s daily downloads, went past “porn” in Google trends, and is apparently set cross Twitter’s Daily Active Users.

It’s success, though, is being attributed to Augmented Reality part of the app, which isn’t the case. Yes, augmented reality is a part of the game play, but it isn’t a feature which truly defines the gaming and mechanics here.

GPS has a bigger hand in Pokemon GO’s success than Augmented Reality.

The need to walk to level up, or hatch an egg, or find Pokestops and Gyms, or even Pokemon for that matter. All the defining mechanics of the game are based on GPS input, and not on the AR part of it.

You can even turn off AR if you want in this game, but mocking or faking your location gets you banned from the game. The game designers are telling you themselves that AR is just for the hype, and it might even degrade your game-play experience. It’s increasingly common for players to turn off AR when they really want to catch a Pokemon.

AR, in its current form, is just a novelty feature of the game. AR is not driving traffic to small businesses, location is!

I came across this tweet by Anil Dash which perfectly sums up the AR part of game.

The true genius of the game is using your GPS location as an input for game. All the things revolve around that. Want to find a new Pokemon? Move around. Short of Pokeballs? Go to a Pokestop. Want to hatch an egg? Go for a fucking walk!


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