UPDATE: Pokémon Go has arrived in Singapore on August 6. Enjoy the game.
The virtual reality game is barely 1 month old but it’s changed lives in so many unexpected ways.
Pokémon Go is unstoppable.
Within a month of its progressive release in 37 countries since July 6, the augmented reality mobile game has raked up more than 100 million downloads and raked in over US$160 million in net revenue. The numbers are likely to soar further when the game is made available to more countries.
As more gamers are spending more time catching virtual monsters in real-world locations, news of their obsession has also taken the mainstream media by storm – so much so that Google is offering a PokéGone extension to let wary users block Pokémon content. But if you’re not sick of the phenomenon yet, here’s a quick recap of the headlines over the past month.
Pokémon Go works by getting its players, also known as trainers, to catch different species of the virtual mythical creature in their neighborhoods or at key local landmarks. Medical professionals have hailed this gameplay format. First, it encourages the sedentary to walk more and exercise more as they play the game (read more here). Second, it also compels those who are coping with anxiety and depression to go out and mingle with fellow players in their communities (read more here).
With the good comes the bad. Pokémon Go has resulted in a number of unfortunate incidents. In Florida, for instance, 2 players were shot by a homeowner who mistook them for burglars (read more here). Elsewhere in Missouri, some players were robbed when the game led them to secluded areas (read more here). A flurry of traffic accidents was reported in Tokyo and more than 20 prefectures in Japan (read more here). Cases of trespass have also raised alarm, leading some governments to declare the game a potential threat to national security (read more here).
In Wyoming, the hunt led a teenage girl to stumble upon a dead body in the river (read more here). A man in Texas shared about his “catch” on social media when his wife was delivering their baby (read more here). A New Zealander quit his job as a barista to become a full-time Pokémon hunter (read more here). American presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign team even used the app to pre-empt where young gamers would gather to register more of them as voters (read more here).
Closer to home
Although Pokémon Go isn’t available in Singapore yet, an Australian expat has already lost his job over the game. The marketing consultant first criticized Singapore for not having Pokémon Go in a Facebook rant, which then escalated into a war of words with other netizens over the quality of Singaporeans (read more here). A spirited debate on whether Singapore should welcome the game to its shores has also ensued.
Sonia Mary Anthony, 19, hopes the game will be released in Singapore soon. “I do want to play Pokémon Go when it comes out to see what the hype is about.”
Others such as Chris Ratnam, 20, feels otherwise. “People will be running across the road to catch Pokémon and I don’t want to be responsible for killing anyone,” he said.
Some Singaporeans feel that the Pokémania won’t last long. Game designer Marzie Zanis, 26, said: “It (Pokémon Go) will probably die off pretty soon because it gets rather repetitive and boring unless it’s updated.”
Joel Ng, 19, prefers the original Pokémon games. “In the new Pokémon games you can’t battle much with the Pokémon. All you have to do is swipe to catch it. I feel that it is more fun to be able to battle with the Pokémon till it tires before I catch it,” he said.
What about you?