The Pokémon Go Effect

We are only six days in from the release of the Pokémon Go app, and while viral apps have come and gone, this one is truly different. If you haven’t heard about this app by now, here’s the official video showing it:

Get ready for the movie. If they can do it with Angry Bird, this one is a no brainer.

This is a milestone in Augmented Reality. This is when it hits mainstream acceptance. But not without a cost. Already stories are popping up about the pitfalls of when a new technology hits the masses. I’m sure these are not the use cases the developers had in mind.

Warning: There is some profanity in the above video.

OK, while we wait for the media backlash and parent fear frenzy to kick in on that, let’s not forget the good side to this technology.

There is a park in my neighborhood, and over the weekend it was full of kids walking around, smart phone in hand. I have never seen anything like this in my neighborhood ever — lots and lots of kids outside, walking around, talking to each other. They were having REAL FACE TO FACE SOCIAL INTERACTION AND PHYSICAL EXERCISE ALL BECAUSE OF A VIDEO GAME. The scene I witnessed reminded me of this clip from an old Simpsons episode. In it, a favorite kids cartoon goes off the air, and those kids, faced with nothing to do, GO OUTSIDE AND PLAY.

The game encourages real exercise. Twitter is filling with tweets of people complaining of sore legs because of their addiction to this game. Has the American Couch Potato finally grown legs?

Part of the game is to find specific places in the real world to play certain features. Reports are coming in that some of those locations the game is selecting for these locations, are somewhat…unusual.

This happens every time a new technology comes along. Just think about how the smart phone has changed our lives. But is it the technology’s fault? People are good and evil, and let’s not forget, pretty stupid. Technology just let’s us be good, evil, and stupid more efficiently.

Still, this milestone is fascinating.

Augmented Reality has been unleashed. This genie is out of the bottle. We now have to learn how to live with it.