Pokemon Yellow: Pikachu appears
Sadie Hernandez BY

Pokémon Go: gaming in the real world

It was in 2005, that we could play a virtual game in the real world for the first time, by using a mobile phone (the game was called Frequency 1550). It was not so easy in those days, using a separate GPS module and a Nokia 95, connected through a server. But playing in the real world made the history lessons for pupils a lot more fun. In the end, these educational pilots resulted in the location software for mobile games and tours called 7scenes.

Before such a thing becomes a hype (like Pokémon Go at the moment) apparently takes a while. It needs the right combination of the availability of both smartphones and mobile networks, the development of augmented reality (AR) and GPS (think of Layar) and a producer of popular games. And a very simple concept, of course.

Playing in the streets is a big success now, but comes with a notable social impact. In the United States, someone looked to find a Pokémon in a nearby water source, and instead stumbled across a dead body. In O’Fallon, Missouri, a group of teenagers used the app to carry out armed robberies, by using the geolocation features. Even those not playing the game have been affected, as crowds loiter outside houses that inadvertently correspond to points of interest in the in-game world, looking for a Pikachu.

There are also positive stories to emerge from the game’s success, though. According to Gizmodo, people are complaining about all the exercise they’re getting. This could be a sign of what's awaiting us. It differs from virtual reality practice (where you have you use glasses), and the interaction with the real world seems to be more successful.

That means there’s less chance of feeling sick while using the technology, but it also allows for more interesting possibilities. So who knows whats awaiting us outside, when tech companies will bring out more AR-games.

Read more: The Guardian, Digi-Capital, “Google Game Could Be Augmented Reality's First Killer App", ”How Stores Will Use Augmented Reality to Make You Buy More Stuff”

Thanks to Jamie Condliffe, MIT Technology Review, from whom we borrowed a few lines here.