Here’s How Pokémon Go Is Changing the World Around Us

July 21, 2016

12:30 pm

The Pokémon Go craze is official. Streets worldwide are littered with anxious players, portable battery charges are out of the shelves in numerous supermarkets, the app has already surpassed Twitter in the amount of daily active users and players spend more time in it compared to Facebook.

Traditionally, no matter how popular and engaging an online game is, it rarely goes beyond getting players to buy its merchandise or being transformed into a movie (hey Lara Croft). Yet, Pokémon Go is now responsible for more good and bad things happening around the globe. Here are the most curious one of them:

Pokémon Go Players Accidentally Get to Exercise

If you somehow managed to miss the concept, this AR game encourages players to step out of their houses and go exploring…literary with their feet. The game was built on the base of Ingress – a less popular geo-location game, created by the same developer Niantic Labs that encouraged players to discover and step interesting objects in their area. Now this globally accumulated geocached data is successfully re-used to create Pokestops in Pokémon Go, which people need to discover to collect game objects. To catch them all, you need to wander around your neighborhood a lot. Now half of the social media is full of rants about sore legs from all-night Pokémon searches.

People Actually Get Hurt

Gaming addiction is a serious matter and when it’s transferred into the real world, it takes a whole new level of severity. Two players were reported to fall off the cliff in California earlier this week, a teen was hit by a car while crossing the street, another avid duo crashed a car into the tree, and some people even got lured into a trap and robbed. Bottom line: stay safe and vigilant while gaming. The real world has some real dangers to watch out for!

Socializing Goes Onto a Whole New Level

The loner’s gamer era is over. Savvy pub owners have already started hosting dedicated pub-crawls and themed meetups for players in various cities including San Francisco, Chicago, Washington DC and I believe many more locations are to follow. You can now sample a great variety of game-themed cocktails including a “Pokemangorita” and get special discounts and perks if you show up you app profile.

Some even go as far as saying that Pokemon Go is the new best dating app out there. A few Reddit users have already shared their adorable stories of finding the perfect date when running into them during the Pokemon hunt. Those, who didn’t have the courage to approach another player in person, are now all over Craigslist posting cute “Missed Connection” notes:

We chatted a bit at a pokestop in south central m4w

However, some breakups turned out to be unavoidable too. Gamers have already shared tons of pics ranting about how the game is ruining their relationships with significant others. One guy even went public about being caught cheating after the app has shown his girlfriend that he caught a Pokemon near his ex’s house.

Random Places Are Experiencing Huge Bumps in Walk-ins and Revenues

Pokemons dwell where they dwell and sometimes you need to get yourself into a really strange location like a military base or 9/11 Memorial and the Holocaust Museum. Savvy venues like the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens in Orlando area have already started offering discounted admission to Pokémon Go players.

Random small business owners became the lucky victims of the Pokémon craze as well as their venues suddenly turned into Pokéstops, where players can grab new supplies or gyms to train characters for the battle. The less lucky folks can still piggyback on the app’s popularity by paying a $10 daily fee to purchase lures – special in-game items that attract Pokemons and users respectively. Sean Benedetti, a pizzeria owner from Queens, admitted that his business went up by 75% after this.

Other witty entrepreneurs have started offering Pokémon related gig services. You can now hire an Uber-style chauffeur to drive you around in search of Pokémons and others are selling their accounts for hundreds of dollars to the newly arrived players.   

However, the sudden Pokémon economy is about to change as the company announced paid advertising options to a slight dismay of app users.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien