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Pokemon Go: Innovation in Fitness?

We’re all used to seeing people in the street with their heads buried in their smartphones.
Pokemon Go, the smartphone app created and published by Niantic, has broke records across the board, becoming the most active smartphone game in history. In just three days, it surpassed the number of active Twitter accounts.
Fusing reality with fantasy, Pokemon Go has opened up a range of marketing opportunities for local businesses to attract new customers, and opened up a brand new genre of smartphone gaming; something we’re going to tentatively label ‘gamercising‘. Feel free to come up with your own name!
What exactly is the premise of gamercising, I hear you ask?
Well, it’s the encouragement of an app to force users in to manual tasks. It’s about rewarding people for getting out and about with the goal of physical interaction with local landmarks.


The quick evolution of the smartphone to offer the full power of a personal computer in a pocketable device has left many questions over the impact on physical social interactions, and the detrimental impact on health.
Let’s not forget, government statistics place obesity in US adults at around 35%; over a third of the population. Even though the UK’s is lower at 25.6%, it’s still an alarming concern.

Money Machine

Using maps, GPS and local landmarks, Niantic has given us an exclusive peak at the power of modern devices.
Raking in an estimated £1.2 million pounds a day in the US alone, the demand for technology that pushes social boundaries back in the direction of physical involvement is clearly evident.
Tracking users steps and reporting on fitness, Nintendo are set to release a wearable device (the Pokemon GO Plus) in the near future which works directly with the app, notifying users of nearby critters ready to catch.

Social & Fitness

This video shows the sheer demand for the app, when a ‘rare Pokémon’ was discovered in a local US park.
The creator of the video mentions the social element of the game in his video description, stating that he “played Pokemon with 500 people last night in downtown Bellevue. Probably the best co-op gaming experience of my life.”

Future Development

What can we expect to see in the future from such a hyped game? F2P (Free to Play) games are an interesting business model, always looking at ways to monopolise the product with meaningful micro-transactions.
It would be great to see the fitness element of Pokemon GO developed further to help tackle the obesity crisis amongst young adults. Reward individuals for finding items or Pokémon, by strategically placing rare items near free sports venues and running tracks.
The GPS tracker could be used to highlight positive fitness gains and show how even a small amount of exercise a day can contribute to overall health and wellbeing.
Effectively, it’s a community-based opportunity that needs to be grasped with both hands.
Let us know how you think the app could be developed on Facebook & Twitter!


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