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  • Suhas Bhosale, Technical Architect

5 App Technology Lessons from Pokémon GO!

Pokémon GO has gone mega viral since the interactive Augmented Reality game’s launch, breaking records and topping the mobile apps charts. Its fame isn’t restricted to app charts though because this game has become more popular than social media apps and websites. In a top tech market like the US, Pokémon GO is massive, as TechCrunch reports, “Pokémon GO has quickly become one of the most viral mobile applications of all time. The game is now the biggest ever in the U.S.; it has now topped Twitter’s daily users, and it sees people spending more time in its app than in Facebook, according to reports from various tracking firms.”

An earlier report from SimilarWeb had pegged Pokémon Go as having surpassed dating app Tinder, in terms of installs, while it was closing in on Twitter’s daily active users. By Thursday, July 7th, the app had been installed on more Android smartphones than the dating app, the firm had said, ”Today, SimilarWeb tells us that Pokémon GO did manage to surpass Twitter in terms of daily active users on Monday, and now sees 5.92 percent of the U.S. Android population engaging with the app on a daily basis.

Pokémon Go

”Overtaking Twitter, Facebook and Tinder? Who would have ever imagined it? However, as Time explains, it isn’t that farfetched an idea, “Behold, Pokémon GO is now a thing. Which, when you consider Pokémon was already the third-biggest franchise in video games history (after Tetris and Nintendo’s own Mario games), maybe isn’t so surprising.”Despite the strong base of popularity the game already built on, its success cannot be scoffed at. Quite the opposite in fact, because there are priceless lessons to be learnt here, especially when it comes to business app development.

Takeaways from Pokémon GO’s phenomenal success

1. Augmented Reality is here to stay - Before Pokémon GO, Augmented Reality or AR was fancifully talked about as the next big thing. Not any more though. It is living proof that mobile apps can win big off AR technology. So the first takeaway form Pokémon GO is that if applied right, Augmented Reality can be a great platform on which to build your app.

2. Simplicity is key - Pokémon GO is being played by everyone and their dog. Young, old, rich, poor, smart, dumb – it doesn’t matter. There is a reason for that, and that is the gameplay. The game is ridiculously easy to learn and play, provides instant gratification, and offers that holy grail of role-playing games or RPGs – level ups. This means the gamer is instantly invested in doing well in the game, and there are no barriers to success except the amount of time the player puts into the game.

3. Familiarity breeds success - I mentioned earlier that Pokémon as a franchise was already pretty big, and this is one of the big takeaways from Go’s success. If you have a product that is already popular, bringing it to new platforms will only enhance its popularity. Now Pokémon GO may not be as intense and detailed as the Nintendo DS-based series of Pokémon games, which again was a clever move because the former would only attract hardcore gamers, while the latter, as we mentioned earlier, attracts everyone.

4. Marketing doesn’t have to be obtrusive – How often do mobile games today have pop-ups and prompts to share accomplishments on social media? Too often, in my book. Whether it’s those Facebook notifications about Candy Crush, or something else, these pop ups are quite annoying and usually ignored.

Pokémon GO doesn’t have those, because the makers realized that if the product is good enough, you won’t have to force your users to popularize it – they will do so themselves. And this came to pass, because the game’s makers Niantic set aside a relatively small marketing budget, and let their game do the talking.

5. Privacy is paramount - When Pokémon GO was initially launched, there was just one factor that really threatened to derail the game’s burgeoning success.

This factor was the requirement for full access to your Google Account with which you signed in. This would have still been okay if they at least warned you about it. However, on the game’s iOS version there was no warning, causing an outrage online when the news broke. To be fair though, makers Niantic issued a statement -

We recently discovered that the Pokémon GO account creation process on iOS erroneously requests full access permission for the user’s Google account. However, Pokémon GO only accesses basic Google profile information (specifically, your User ID and email address) and no other Google account information is or has been accessed or collected. Once we became aware of this error, we began working on a client-side fix to request permission for only basic Google profile information, in line with the data that we actually access. Google has verified that no other information has been received or accessed by Pokémon GO or Niantic. Google will soon reduce Pokémon GO’s permission to only the basic profile data that Pokémon GO needs, and users do not need to take any actions themselves.”

The statement, and the company’s admission of error and subsequent rectification of the problem both teach us a valuable lesson – smartphone users take their privacy and security very seriously, and any breaches will cast a negative shadow on your app. You must keep all your privacy bases covered.

In the ever-changing world of smartphones and apps, there are always lessons to be learned if you keep both your eyes, and your mind open. We have an open minded approach, and apply lessons learned through the success and failures of both our endeavors, and those of others to refine and improve our mobile app development processes. So if you want an app built by a resourceful and experienced team to help take your business idea to the top, get in touch with Extentia today.

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