It all started as a joke on the first of April 2014. Google has
released a video about a game that uses Google Maps and uses augmented reality
to put Pokemon in real locations around us.
It was one of the best April Fool jokes we remember, but it wasn't a joke because Pokemon could be searched in the mobile app for Google Maps - just not the way it was shown in the video.
But we didn’t have to wait long for this crazy idea of hunting Pokemon to be
realized in the real world. Since 2010, Google has funded an in-house studio
called Niantic Labs run by the co-founder of Google Maps. In 2015, the
studio separated from Google and announced what was originally a joke - a real
mobile game of geo-location gameplay and augmented reality.
In collaboration with Nintendo, they received a license for one of the world's most popular franchises and eventually created Pokémon GO, which was officially launched on this day five years ago.
The premise was simple: you go through the city/village/nature and hunt different Pokemon in your vicinity using GPS technology. It wasn’t the first game of its kind, but it was the first one that didn’t need to be specifically explained to people. The concept of the game itself fits perfectly into the Pokemon adventure format where trainers travel the world to complete their collection of wild creatures.
Pokémon GO was quite sparse in content in the context of existing Pokemon games. In the beginning, he only had the first generation of Pokemon, there were no real PvP battles, there was no simple Pokemon trading, and many other things that were present in Pokemon games for Nintendo consoles. However, most of it came afterward, and the game attracted players with a fresh approach anyway.
The biggest change was that it had to be played on the move. Players had to get out of their houses to find Pokemon, and outside the house, they met other players. These physical encounters of players were somewhat different compared to classic online multiplayer because they happened both in the game and in reality.
Pokémon GO was a global phenomenon after its release. The game was played by millions of players, the media reported on it, and now and then different stories of experiences and adventures based on that game could be heard, some beautiful and some ugly. Unfortunately, Pokémon GO has been the cause of many tragedies, and the game is associated with about 20 deaths and about 60 serious injuries sustained in the middle of the game. Of particular danger was playing the game while driving a motor vehicle.
Pokémon GO was launched at an ideal time - in the middle of summer, and many predicted that the game would quickly lose in popularity as soon as the colder weather came. That's how it was, and the number of players decreased over time. However, the constant influx of new content and the organization of various festivals have done their part. After several dry years, Pokémon GO returned and in 2019 outnumbered the result at launch.
And then came to the COVID 19 pandemic and the game, which was based on moving
around the real world, ran into difficulties in concept. Fortunately for the
players, the developers adapted and adjusted the game so that it
could be played for a while without leaving the house. With the arrival
of 2021 and the advent of the vaccine against COVID, these changes were
removed, which was not to the liking of all players in the community.
Nevertheless, Pokémon GO is still the most popular game of this type today. The Niantic development team, meanwhile, launched a similar game in the world of Harry Potter, but it didn't even come close to the success of the Pokemon, which provided their creators with billions of dollars in earnings.