Twenty years after Pokemon characters and consumer goods took the world by storm, the brand is back in force in the new Pokemon Go game for Android devices. The game was designed to combine the fun of playing a virtual or augmented reality style video game with the opportunity to get out of the house or office and discover the local neighborhood that seems to be taken for granted.
For some people, the concept might sound familiar, and for good reason. A little less than four years ago, a video game developer named Niantic came to the Android-based gaming market with a augmented reality video game titled Ingress. Using GPS technology to create a map of the local area, players are charged with the task of going out into the real world and using the game screen to track down portals.
After securing its independence from former owner Google, Niantic composer Junichi Masuda wanted to capitalize on the popularity of Ingress, which currently has as many as 7,000,000 players. He conceptualized and developed a very similar gaming concept based on the popular Pokemon characters of yesteryear. While the gameplay requirements are quite similar to Ingress, the players are traveling around the local neighborhood trying to locate and capture Pokemon characters instead of portals.
Unlike Ingress, which was originally designed for Android and later redesigned for iOS, Pokemon Go was release simultaneously for both Android and iOS (Apple) users on July, 6 2016. In it’s first week of release, the game is showing all the indications of being wildly popular, perhaps surpassing the popular Pokemon video games that were developed for Nintendo.
As expected, there are initial reports of bugs that need to be addressed. As was the case with Ingress, Niantic is having difficulty with its servers being able to handle the game’s traffic. This is something the company need to address immediately or risk losing its customer base. There have also received complaints about the audio cutting out when a user’s device receives a text message. Finally, new users are getting a “GPS signal not found” message, though a quick fix work-around is already available.