Pokemon Slow by Paul Grimsley

The Ups And Downs Of A Game

People burn through games pretty damned fast, and a game that combines game-play and engages the obsessive collector in a person is going to have a pretty limited time-scale on when a new addition to the game is going to lose its novelty value.

How easy is it to roll out a big change though, on a game that has so many variables? I am sure Niantic is not short of money, people in programming or development, but still, a lot comes into play when you plug in a whole bunch of new characters who each have different behaviours and potentialities, and objects that are similarly responsive.

You also have to factor in the idea of creating a demand for the new developments, and not running out of future developments. As new behaviours are introduced that affect the way old characters operate even more demands are placed on the infrastructure and programming. You keep old characters, and keep adding new characters, and new items, and you have to keep shoring up the game.

Usage has plateaued and has even begun to dip, peaking only as new developments occur, which I suppose isn’t that unusual, but it does point to a problem everyone in this and other fields suffers from — once you have generated interest and captured the attention of a public that is willing to pay for your product, how do you keep them coming back for more?

Pokemon Go is lucky that it has something that no one else has really replicated, but it can only be a matter of time before someone else cracks the formula and brings the “new thing” to the table. Something that slots into your life and gamifies some aspect of it, perhaps making a chore that you hate more interesting — this is something Pokemon Go has hooked into somewhat. People were getting out of the house to collect Pokémon, and getting exercise they wouldn’t have got before, and the number of people that were out there made it a social thing; it had and has a lot of potential, and it was a real phenomenon.

Maybe some of the changes that are coming which are going to increase the interactivity between players will help pull some people back in. There are certain features of the card game that are not yet replicated in the mobile game, and these are things people have been waiting for. It still has pull — Boost Mobile and MacDonalds have sponsored stops, and what’s to stop an expansion of that?

I still play, and I walk to hatch eggs, I spin Pokestops, I walk for candy. I would be doing a lot of these things anyway, but this is like skinning my life in the same way Pokemon skins the environment, so it slows … I get less after I’ve hit a target, but I’m playing a game, and yes, I want more from it all the time. It does get boring seeing the same creatures, and there is a bit of a buzz when catching, hatching, or evolving something new. I look forward to seeing how the new roll outs work, and how they affect the usage by others. Pokestop is definitely something to watch, because there really isn’t much like it out there.

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