lesson from pokemon GO

App development lessons that can be implied by Pókemon GO

By | April 24, 2017

Thanks to the rising of augmented reality (AR) games, Pókemon Go has caused a global stir last year. The world has been infected by Pokémon Go fever. Even though you didn’t play the game, you must have heard at least once about it – one of the most influential, controversial and popular games in mobile history.

Released in the United States on July 6, Pokémon Go has become a huge hit especially in the US with more than 25,000,000 users playing the game per day. SurveyMonkey Intelligence claimed that Pokémon Go is the “biggest mobile game in U.S. history.”

All over the world, Pokémon Go has experienced one of the most rapid rises to cultural relevance seen by a technology product. In fact, in terms of time spent on the app by users, Pokémon Go even beats Facebook and Twitter. It also outpaced Candy Crush, Tinder and Snapchat. This has brought Nintendo an unprecedented height in the market value.

Top apps with most daily time spent by iOS user in 2016

Pokemon Go topped the Daily Time Spent chart by iOS mobile user in 2016


Pokemon Go Average Usage Time chart by Android users in 2016

The game also topped the Average Usage Time chart by Android users in 2016

Pokemon go Nintendo share price

To meet Niantic’s achievement is a real challenge for app developers. But it’s worth digging deeper to the success of the game to see what made it a huge hit among the masses can give you some inspirations to make your next app gain a little more fraction of the popularity.

We being an app development company will give out our opinion on some lessons you can learn from the success of Pokémon Go:

  1. Combination of virtual and real world

Pokémon go virtual reality

The coolest factor Pokémon Go has provided is to put a virtual world on top of the real world. Something simple as that has successfully enhanced user retention. Players must walk around the real world and try to “catch” digital pókemon that appear superimposed over the actual environment. Augmented reality and GPS support have quickly brought Pokémon Go to its golden era. The combination is really an addictive substance and has instantly been predicted as one of the hottest trends in technology as well as app development this year and it is sure to be so.

Lesson learned: Take into consideration an app with AR and geolocation adoption.


  1. Balance between simplicity and complexity

Image result for pokemon go complex

It is really easy to understand the rules and begin hunting. But as players get used to the app, to get level-ups and unlock more features, it provides challenges that are attractive and complex enough to keep them be obsessed.

Lesson learned: There’s no need cause frustration that makes users tear their hair out in the very first start of their experience. Instead, drawing a curve of simplicity and complexity will keep the users feel elated every time they use your app, not feel bored and tend to give up.


  1. Provides users with what they need
Image result for pokemon go trainer

The game enables you to be a Pokémon trainer

If you are a Pokémon fan, you could have dreamed of training your own pokémon. Pokémon Go just made the dream come true. The game gives users the chance to be the very best Pokémon trainer by exploring the real world along with an interactive virtual world on the screen.

Lesson learned: Find out needs that a lot of people may have but no one has ever dug into. It could be dreamy. Offer the users with what they need gives them the motivation to try out your app. Then cultivate their initial needs to update your app regularly with some advanced experiences. That’s what make them stay!


  1. Familiarity & nostalgia
pokemon go nostalgia

Pokémon GO won with nostalgia

Pokémon has been a massive cultural icon for a long time. Pokémon characters were loved by many people and the craze has gone all over from movie, anime, toys and games, of course.

The fact that the game used the name and the image of Pokémon has brought up the nostalgia and provided users with a familiarity that users can relate to. This draws users attention and makes them a better experience.

Lesson learned: Brand awareness is important. Unless you are already a big brand, it will take a while for users to get familiar with the name and the concept of your app. Consider cooperating for using a familiar character or concept if possible. It will save time and effort gaining attention from users and it is easier for them to understand your concept.


  1. Social elements
Pokémon inviting friend

Effectively taking advantage of social interaction to get more users

The social aspect is the key to increase the virality. So no wonder why it plays a major part in the popularity of Pokémon GO. Players need others to advance in the game – they join teams, help others, and hunt for Pokémons together. This wide-scale social experience is one of the main reasons that make the app widely adopted and used all over the world.

Lesson learned: Start to weave social aspects into your apps, such as encouraging collaboration between team members or rewarding them for referring or inviting other users. Think of the ways to do it naturally, or it will become counterproductive.


  1. Change users’ behavior:
Pókemon Go changed user's behavior

Everybody is looking for Pokémon wherever they go now

Another example showing the great impact of Pokémon Go is that it was able to cause users change their behavior. Believe me, the only powerful app can do that. When playing mobile games, people tend to stick in their seats for hours. Mobile games are considered to be the cause of passivity for years. Pokémon Go overturns it all to the opposite. To play the game, people have to get out of their houses and explore the real-life world. If they want to get to the higher levels, they even must visit new landmarks in order to catch rare and elusive Pokémon. Incidentally, they are doing a lot of physical exercises. So the game is a great behavior changer in case it encourages people to stay active, spend a lot of time outdoors and even interact with other players face-to-face. There have even been reports of the game helping people who struggle with depression and anxiety.

However, there have been negative reactions on how the game turning people into loiters or trespasses. There are also reports on mishaps of inattentive Pokémon Go players. It is due to the fact that some PokéStops have been placed in locations where it may be dangerous or disrespectful to play. Pokémon Go has been associated with at least one mugging and probably more than a few car accidents. And people who engage in more traditional forms of outdoor exercise have expressed their disgruntlement at the flood of players overtaking parks and trails while staring at their phones.

Lesson learned: Think of a way to set a new standard in users’ behavior. If you succeed in that, people will need your app to be satisfied without you trying to entice them. But be careful with the change, it’d rather be in a positive way.


Our thoughts

Nevertheless, Pokémon Go is a phenomenon. Whether you love the game or loathe it, its meteoric rise can teach us something. And although Pokémon Go has some advantages that not everyone can duplicate, there are still some lessons that can be applied to almost any other app.

The glory of Pokémon GO is a wake-up call to all the enterprises out there about the invasion of AR in app development. The intensity of the game is no joke. Pokémon Go itself even helps to add some methods to the lists of hot new technology trends. Take the leaf out of the book respectively to make further developments or bring any changes to make your app stand out in the market. But be sure to create your own unique app that no one ever did. The success of Pokémon Go is totally unforeseen, so it’s never been too late to build your own success, and who knows, you will be the new trendsetter!