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Pokémon Go introduces a new disruptive entertainment technology

Pokémon Go is the hottest craze right now and is quickly becoming one of the most viral mobile applications of all time. Eleven percent of U.S. Android owners have installed the app and six percent are engaged in the game on a daily basis, staring at their phone screens as they walk the streets looking for animated characters. Pokémon Go use now surpasses Twitter’s daily users. People are spending more time in its app than on Facebook. Besides being the hottest new mobile game and a major phenomenon, it’s most significant impact is that it has introduced of a totally new disruptive technology to the consumer entertainment landscape.* Pokémon Go represents one of those moments when a new technology, in this case augmented reality, breaks through from being a niche use by early adopters to going mainstream.

Pokémon Go players move through the physical world following a digital map on their screens, searching for cartoon creatures that appear at random. They look through their smartphone cameras to find Pokémon. When an animated creature appears, they toss Pokéballs at it until it is subdued. (If you haven’t yet been caught up in the Pokémon Go craze and want to learn what the game is all about, check out this video).
Pokemon Go

Up until now entertainment options where basically limited to board and card games, 2D screen-based entertainment and games in the home or on the mobile screen, and visits to entertainment venues. Pokémon Go has now brought the mixed reality of combining augmented reality and real world reality to everyone. Why is it so disruptive? Because it has expanded screen-based entertainment and game options into the entire real 3D world. Previously the only 3D real world options were available at an entertainment venue. Pokémon Go has now shown us that the entire world can be the entertainment venue. The fidelity of the game is so much higher than playing on a 2D screen. The game is free and pokécoin purchases are very inexpensive. It is social at Pokémon Go gym locations. You no longer have to pay to go to an entertainment venue to play a game or be entertained in the real world.

Pokémon Go is only the beginning of the mixed reality entertainment options that will be emerging in the near future. It is also the future of how we’re going to interact with computers. Augmented reality entertainment will be slicing into the available market pie of consumers’ available leisure time and discretionary spending. This mixed reality is a completely new form of competition that location-based entertainment venues need to take very seriously. To continue to attract paying customers, entertainment venues will need to raise the quality, the attractiveness, the Fidelity of the entertainment and social experiences they offer.

* The first augmented reality video game was Ingress by the same developers of Pokémon Go, but it never captured a large enough fan base to attract a mainstream audience.

About Randy White

Randy White is CEO and co-founder of the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. The 26-year-old company, with offices in Kansas City, Missouri and Doha, Qatar in the Middle East, has worked for over 500 clients in 33 countries in North and Latin America, Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Projects the company has produced have won sixteen 1st place awards. Randy is considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on feasibility, brand development, design and production of entertainment, eatertainment, edutainment, play and leisure facilities. Randy was featured on the Food Network’s Unwrapped television show as an eatertainment expert, quoted as an entertainment/edutainment center expert in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, New York Times and Time magazine and received recognition for family-friendly designs by Pizza Today magazine. One of the company’s projects was featured as an example of an edutainment project in the book The Experience Economy. Numerous national newspapers have interviewed him as an expert on shopping center and mall entertainment and retail-tainment. Randy is a graduate of New York University. Prior to repositioning the company in 1989 to work exclusively in the leisure and learning industry, White Hutchinson was active in the retail/commercial real estate industry as a real estate consultancy specializing in workouts/turnarounds of commercial projects. In the late 1960s to early 1980s, Randy managed a diversified real estate development company that developed, owned and managed over 2.0 million square feet of shopping centers and mixed-use projects and 2,000 acres of residential subdivisions. Randy holds the designations of CSM (Certified Shopping Center Manager) and Certified Retail Property Executive (CRX) from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Randy is also a partner in Eatertainment Venues 4.0, a company that is developing eatertainment venues, and a co-Regent and presenter at the 14-year-old Foundations Entertainment University, a 3-day long training seminar for the family entertainment center industry. He has authored over 100 articles that have been published in leading entertainment/leisure and early childhood education industry magazines and journals and has been a featured speaker at conventions of over 20 different leisure trade groups. Randy is the editor of his company's Leisure eNewsletter, has a blog and tweets.
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