Gotta Catch 'em All ... Customers, That Is
For millions of consumers, Pokémon Go is an engaging way to pass time and catch some incidental exercise. For businesses, it's a gateway to a revenue-boosting technology that can attract scores of new customers.
Since its release on iOS and Android just over a week ago, the mobile app has been downloaded by at least 15 million users, making it more popular than Facebook. Pokémon Go uses augmented reality technology to blend the real world and gaming world into one.
A recent Wall Street Journal article about the phenomenon notes that companies including Microsoft, Volvo and Google parent Alphabet are testing the technology. Meanwhile, retailers are already reaping the Pokémon-strous rewards, with Game Stop reporting a 100% in-store sales increase.
A New Reality for Generating Business
projekt202 Vice President of User Experience Mike Blakesley discussed the new technology and its business possibilities.
"Pokémon Go has certainly captured people’s attention toward a dimension beyond the physical world," he said. "The unpredictably fascinating aspects of the game have been highlighted when throngs of people move en masse to capture a rare monster, like the rush of hundreds of people in Central Park to capture a Vaporeon. This is a prime example of the dramatic distance between augmented reality and virtual reality that I spoke of in my podcast episode recently.
"Virtual reality cannot create the amount of bystander curiosity and shared experiences like this. As these experiences move closer to mixed reality, it will be exciting to see how we decide to manipulate our physical environment, causing the mixed reality world to respond to it," Blakesley said.
Looking Ahead to Leverage Tech's Newest Frontier
According to the Wall Street Journal, businesses are the key to more widespread adoption of augmented reality technology, particularly in uncovering new applications across industries such as health care and manufacturing.
The projekt202 VP said that his team is already discussing ways of using 3D printers to create prostheses that could affect players' powers and abilities within game environments.
"Perhaps mixed reality hardware being developed by Magic Leap and Microsoft’s Holo Lens will ultimately be able to successfully merge virtual and augmented realities," Blakesley said. "For now, it’s exciting to see how a widely available tool like the smart phone is providing millions of people access to a new frontier."