Pokémon Go – It Caught Us All

I’m exaggerating here, but not much apparently, because Pokémon Go, based on a little-known video game series (kidding),  was the most downloaded iPhone app worldwide in 2016.

Despite early days of frequent crashes and server outages, not to mention the whole tracking feature disaster, the game was a monster (pun intended) hit from day 1. Remember the Vaporeon stampede?

The game was praised for how it incentivizes physical activity and helps bring people together. It was also regularly criticized for “Oops” moments like putting PokéStops in cemeteries and over concerns that the game can endanger players who don’t pay attention to their physical surroundings.

But players mostly just played and played and played the game. They staked out locations with multiple PokéStops to maximize their usage of lures and lucky eggs, they stole gyms out from other players who were too slow, and they worried about catching their first Pikachu and whether or not they could get a great IRL photo from within the game to show off on Instagram or Facebook.

Not surprisingly, enthusiasm has died down from those heady, early days, but ongoing improvements, new features, and the recent launch of Gen 2 Monsters suggest that the game will continue to find ways to engage with its fans. And its success surely means we can expect a ton of new augmented reality games coming our way in 2017 as game developers try to replicate its appeal.