Pokémon GO has been revolutionary by engaging users in real-life activities through AR (augmented reality) technology. They crushed it. Huge kudos to Nintendo. I'm a big believer in nostalgic intellectual property. It is one of the most underrated ...
The hugely popular app has seen Nintendo shares soar following its limited release in the US, Australia and New Zealand on July 6.
Back in a February interview at 92Y, I said that I was very disappointed for Nintendoâ€™s lack of effort to enter the mobile app world. With so many iconic characters and games, it made complete sense that they would want to play in the mobile space. I thought they were being romantic about console video games and that they could dominate the app market if they actually went for it.
In the last week, Nintendo went for it. PokÃ©mon GO has been revolutionary by engaging users in real-life activities through AR (augmented reality) technology. They crushed it. Huge kudos to Nintendo.
Iâ€™m a big believer in nostalgic intellectual property. It is one of the most underrated value propositions in business and marketing. Nostalgic IP matters and itâ€™s valuable and massively underpriced. While itâ€™s not nostalgic for me personally, PokÃ©mon just celebrated itâ€™s 20th anniversary so you can easily see why it hits that 25 to 35-year-old demographic.
PokÃ©mon GO plays off of nostalgia, which is a huge draw in app culture. It taps into emotions and storytelling that gives that brand a foot into the door of their consumersâ€™ hearts. If I had created an app called â€œCreaturesâ€ with one hundred or so monsters to collect, it would only be 1/1000th as successful as PokÃ©mon GO.
Nintendoâ€™s success ladders back to my thesis in business (and in life) that youâ€™re only as good as your last at bat. In my opinion, Nintendo didnâ€™t do a good job over the last three to four years adjusting to the mobile environment. But, now theyâ€™ve just come out with one of the most significant apps in this space.
You can be doing everything wrong for quite a while and then you do something right and it changes your entire narrative. I love that. I love it in reverse too. I could make a slew of bad business decisions and come in last place. Thatâ€™s the meritocracy of the game.
This is why you canâ€™t get romantic about how you make your money. I thought Nintendo was being romantic about making proprietary consoles and games. I was convinced they put their heads in the sand about mobile technology while trying to figure out what their next step would be after the WiiU. I think too many of you out there act the same way when it comes to running your business. I implore you to really look at the actual marketplace and pay attention to whatâ€™s happening, even if it doesnâ€™t seem to be in your best vested interest.
I think apps like PokÃ©mon GO are examples of what weâ€™ll be seeing more of in the future. Not only has it shown that thereâ€™s a willingness from consumers to use AR technology for gaming, but itâ€™s affecting peopleâ€™sâ€™ behavior at scale. The app has made users physically leave their homes to seek out PokÃ©mon in places they normally wouldnâ€™t go (and eventually interact with other players outside of just the screen). This is very, very powerful.
If anything, tech like this proves that the mobile device has become the remote control to our lives. There are apps to control your television, your car, even the temperature of your home. Itâ€™s absolutely become the tool that everyone uses for utility and entertainment. One day we could be wearing smart contact lenses or be getting chips embedded into our brains. For now, these behaviors currently map back to the phone (and it might for the next decade), but who knows what will eventually replace it.
Itâ€™s impressive how successful PokÃ©mon GO has been even though itâ€™s only been out for less than a week. Its daily average usage is over 43 minutesâ€”higher than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger. I can see people of all ages playing it on the streets and I hear my employees talking about it non-stop. Iâ€™m excited to see where theyâ€™ll be taking such rich IP and Iâ€™m proud of Nintendo for making such big moves.
If you donâ€™t know about PokÃ©mon GO,Â check out a description below.
In the app, you create an avatar that is positioned according to your geolocation using your phoneâ€™s GPS. As you walk around in the real world, your avatar will too. Youâ€™ll see yourself on a map like you would on Google Maps. However, normal landmarks will be replaced by PokÃ©stopsâ€“locations that offer free items every 5 minutes as long as youâ€™re in the vicinity. Youâ€™ll receive items to heal your PokÃ©mon after a battle, PokÃ©mon eggs that you can hatch by walking a certain distance, and most importantly, the PokÃ©balls you use to catch new PokÃ©mon. You can encounter PokÃ©mon almost anywhere, but they most prevalently show up in grassy areas like parks, which drives people into public spaces.
So what do you do with the PokÃ©mon you collect? The more of one species that you get, the stronger that species will become. When you get to a certain level, you get to represent one of three teams: Red, Blue, and Yellow. These teams duke it out in a turf war trying to capture and hold PokÃ©mon Gyms that are placed at bigger landmarks in the real world.
Whatâ€™s interesting is that PokÃ©mon GO has yet to feature any sort of in-app messaging or sharing features. However, itâ€™s obvious that the app is successful in driving real-world interactions.
In the game, users can purchase PokÃ©mon â€œluresâ€ with real money. When activated at a PokÃ©stop, the landmark will show up with pink flower petals that signify to all trainers that more PokÃ©mon will be lured to that area. Once itâ€™s active, you can see the people flock that location. Youâ€™ve probably have already seen chalkboard signs outside of coffee shops advertising for users to stop in to catch whatever PokÃ©mon may be available. I can see marketers finding ways to ruin this soon.
Gary Vaynerchuk is co-founder and CEO of digital agency VaynerMedia. His new book isÂ #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneurâ€™s Take on Leadership, SocialÂ MediaÂ & Self-Awareness.Â This article originally appeared on GaryVaynerchuk.com.