Pokémon Go – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

22 Jul Pokémon Go – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Well, you knew this was coming. We’re talking Pokémon Go.

Most people have been introduced to the game in some way or another, but in case you haven’t read the news, talked to a millennial or walked outside lately here’s some background. Pokémon Go is an augmented reality gaming app that has been available for less than a month. In that time, it has surpassed Twitter in users, has higher engagement than Facebook and is raking in more than $1.6 billion for Nintendo every day.

The Pokémon Go marketing phenomenon is incredible and could easily be a blog post of its own. The app’s combination of highly innovative new technology with the nostalgia of the 90’s card game has caused adoption to skyrocket. While this level of engagement is the stuff most companies can only dream of, it comes with a price. We took a look at the good, the bad, and the ugly effects on the world since Pokémon Go launched earlier this month:

The Good 

As anti- Pokémon Go as I am, I have to admit that there are a few real benefits to the game. For instance, a key component of the game is walking around and exploring your real-life surroundings rather than playing in a virtual environment. Already this is having a positive effect on how much people exercise. BuzzFeed recently published an article showing the almost unbelievable activity increase on peoples’ fitness trackers since the game was released. In a world where we can do almost everything online, order anything and binge watch for days, this inspiration for movement is a welcomed change. (It is worth noting however, that CNN put together this handy list of alternatives)

This second benefit may just be cool to me, as a person who works in tech PR and who was recently inundated with tech for a week straight during Red Hat Summit. I think sometimes working in the tech world we start to assume that everyone hears about the same interesting innovations we’re learning about for our clients every day, when outside of our bubble that’s really not the case. The focus on Pokémon Go has also cast more attention on augmented reality technology and the possibilities associated with it. AR isn’t just for gaming and the launch of Pokémon Go has cast light on a bigger story of the real-life applications of technology that was once considered science fiction.

The Bad

There is a lot that could be said about the negative affects of this game on society, but possibly the most offensive is that it is making people lose touch with the realities around them. I understand that if you’re traveling in DC you’re going to be walking around anyway so why not check to see if a Pikachu is hanging out on the mall, but when it gets to the point of National Park officials having to issue a statement asking people to stop we should rethink our actions. When people are playing Pokémon Go at the Holocaust Museum we have a real problem. All over the news there have been stories of people crashing funerals, wandering around hospitals and ignoring “no trespassing” signs in search of their next catch. It’s becoming a drug and we, as a society, need to get it in check.

The Ugly  

Actual physical danger. It is mind-blowing that this phenomenon has been the cause of so many injuries and even deaths. From accidents caused by trying to catch ‘em all while driving, to literally walking off a cliff in pursuit of a Pokémon, the app seems to be a catalyst for people to do dumb things. This rise in erratic human activity (can’t blame it on the Pokémon) has already forced companies to issue warnings and create rules that seemed to be common sense last month. It will be interesting to see what legislation, lawsuits or regulation come next in an effort to limit the catastrophes. This company has already gotten started.


So, Sounding Board readers, tell us what you think. Do you disagree? Do you have a unique Pokémon Go story? Share your thoughts in the comments!


Sally McHugh
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