I think it’s safe to say that this years most popular mobile game is Pokemon Go because within just one month after it’s release, the game has been downloaded more than a hundred million times from Google’s Play Store alone. Why is it so popular? Well for starters, it has a decade worth of marketing behind it. And by that I mean the TV series and the playing cards among other collectibles and some very popular video games as well. Nowadays it’s hard to find a person who doesn’t know what a Pokemon is. It’s a trademark almost as recognizable as Coca Cola.
Pokemon Go and human nature
While I could go on and on about human nature and argue whether there even is such a thing as an actual “human nature” or are we all born as completely blank slates and sculpted some time later by the environment in which we are placed in, I think we can all agree that Pokemon Go fills at least some of the most basic human needs by providing us with a sense of belonging, making us compete against others in a friendly way and of course giving us the chance to socialize by playing a fun and exciting game.
Gotta catch ’em all
For as long as humans have been around, we’ve all collected something. From postcards and coins to cars and bones, pretty much anything that exists in this world can be collected in one form or another. I’m not entirely sure if the creators of Pokemon actually planned ahead and came up with the phrase “Gotta catch ’em all” after collaborating with psychologists in order to really mess with us, but the fact remains that they’ve really hit the spot with it. Show me a person who hasn’t collected anything in their life? You can’t. Yes, even the insides of your piggy bank can be considered a collection of sorts, albeit a small one.
The need to show off and boast to others
Another well known urge for almost all humans (excluding perhaps a holy man) is the need to show off one’s achievements and accomplishments in order to gain recognition from others. It’s just satisfying on so many levels and what better way to exploit this in a game such as Pokemon Go, but to make certain Pokemon scarce and harder to get than others? Found a Rattata? Pffft! It doesn’t stand a chance against my Pikachu.
The need for competition
Speaking of which, people have always wanted to be better than the next guy and while it’s true that sometimes we can go just a little bit over the edge and end up in a blood feud that lasts for decades, it’s more common, in the modern age, to challenge someone in a friendly game instead.
And of course Pokemon Go is perfect for this because unlike in boring games like chess (sorry chess fans) you actually feel the power and rush after beating your opponent because you’ve just worked so hard to get there. (And lost a few pounds in the process).