By Diego Pappalardo, with collaboration of Lucía Capón and Agustín Palmeira
Last year we explained the boom of Pokémon Go and we talked about the reasons for its success. Today we are asking ourselves, why are users still playing it?
The key of Pokémon Go to retain users
To keep users hooked, Niantic – the company who developed it – did not stay idle. It kept launching updates – a second generation was added along with new features. New features have kept the boom of the game alive.
1) New Features
- Legendary Pokémons were launched globally. A new collaborative game mode has been used for users to obtain them, which had recently included Raid Bosses. Through this, they managed to improve the participation in the game, since we are talking about battles where several players are necessary to fight a legendary Pokémon and to have the chance to catch it, provided you win. This participation gets better, since several players are necessary to perform raids.
- Second Generation. As we mentioned before, 100 new Pokémons were added.
2) Future Features
New improvements and features are being announced from Niantic for the future, generating excitement and enthusiasm among users:
- More battles among players and Pokémon exchanges will be incorporated
- Incense options will also be expanded to attract Pokémons with different scents.
3) Wider Reach
For this year, Nantic CEO, John Hanke, took the steps to take the product to China, Russia, Africa and Asia (it is already available in Japan).
Some events were held at a global scale. Some of them increased the amount of Pokémons displayed on the game, or simply modified them with some eye-catching detail, such as a Christmas hat for Pikachu – the most famous Pokémon – or Ash’s hat to celebrate the first year of the game.
The event which never happened
Another event held on-site by Niantic in Chicago, managed to gather many people from different parts of the world in order to try to get a legendary Pokémon for the first time. It did not quite work out as expected, the internet provider failed, and some bugs that kept the game crashing prevented the people from playing smoothly. Niantic had to refund the entrance fee, compensate with in-game coins and gave away the legendary Pokémon Lugia to everyone participating in the event. Despite the fact that the event was not as successful as it had been planned, the resulting expectation from players contributed to maintain the game alive.
5) Community and hacking
Pokémon GO has created a sort of mystique and a huge community around the game. Groups and forums have appeared to organize raids in different neighborhoods. For instance, the Facebook page “Nidos Pokémon GO Argentina” has built a group on the Discord site where you can find over 3000 Pokémon trainers. Many urban myths cropped up, such as, using certain berries to catch a Pokémon. So far, only one myth has been confirmed by Niantic: Because of a bug in the game, a Pokémon cannot be caught with the last Poké Ball. Hence, the wisdom from the most skilled derived into hacking in order to obtain reliable information about the game by decompiling its files. There are also hacks to get free coins or Poké Balls, or even to play sitting on a couch, without moving (although we think this spoils the game).
In spite of the good and the bad, Pokémon Go is among the first apps that managed to modify the physical behavior of users and even made them leave their homes to go out and play or interact with technology and the outside world in a different way. The public has become loyal to the product, people are still hooked to it and are currently getting together to keep on hunting their favorite Pokémons more than ever.