Just when you thought that people’s lives and relationships had gone completely virtual, due to the rise in popularity of social media sites, along comes a gaming app like Pokémon Go that motivates people to go outside in search of fantasy characters, all while meeting other like-minded people in the real world.
Within just a few weeks after its launch on July 6th, 2016, Pokémon Go has surpassed the popularity and notoriety of the world’s most popular social media sites and online dating services.
Pokémon Go’s sudden popularity, attention and controversy caused filmmaker Oliver Stone to denounce the game as “totalitarian.” Indeed, people have done some strange things and found themselves in strange situations while playing the game.
While playing Pokémon Go, people have found dead bodies, crashed their cars, trespassed on private property, trashed cemeteries, accidentally crossed national borders, walked off cliffs, stopped traffic, met new friends, found potential dates, and filled Craigslist’s “Missed Connections” with posts trying to find and reconnect with other people that they met while playing the game.
Who knows what people will find in the future while playing Pokémon Go. Is it possible that a missing persons case could be solved by people who play the game? Maybe forensic evidence like a missing homicide weapon will be found by a player. It’s also possible that escaped convicts or other wanted criminals could be spotted by people while playing Pokémon Go.
The possible real-world scenarios and discoveries are almost as endless as the locations where Pokémon Go players go in search of Pokémon characters.
Some people have even lost their jobs for spending too much time playing Pokémon Go. Police departments have warned players that criminals could use the app to find people to rob.
Some businesses are reportedly paying to become Pokémon Go destinations to increase foot traffic and business. The game has even given rise to social activities like pub and bar crawls.
Recent news headlines warn that the popularity of Pokémon Go is disrupting the amount of time that people spend using Tinder, Facebook, SnapChat and other popular social media and online dating services. On July 22nd, USA published an article with the title “Watch Out, Tinder: Pokémon Go is the new way to find love.”
This real-world social trend could continue to disrupt online social networks and dating sites, as more people start meeting each other while playing search and find gaming apps like Pokémon Go.
In their quest to find strange virtual characters, Pokémon Go players are finding other people too. Who would have ever thought that a search and find game with fantasy characters would lead to social connections between real people.