In the first week after its launch, Pokemon Go broke records, with 7.2 million downloads. If you’re not impressed, that is more than the combined first figures of every app in the App store. A month later, the location-based anime game has settled back down to a slightly less sensational augmented reality, yet avid fans are still glued to the game.
A trained eye can spot the local “gyms” surrounded by a hoard of gamers still furiously trying to catch little Pikachu. If you walk down the street, you might find yourself dodging gamers engrossed in their mobile phones and not speaking to anyone – and you might begin to think “isn’t it lonely?”
But fear not fans, as with any craze, a plethora of startups are riding the Pokemon Go wave, creating apps to make the experience more social.
Pokemon Go Chat Overlays the Game With Social Tools
Mountain View startup, Omlet Inc, has built a Pokemon Go overlay, adding additional social features to the Pokemon world. The Omlet Arcade app, also known as Pokemon Go Chat, connects players via text conversations that overlay the game. They can easily share tips, screen shots or live-stream the game to others. Maps and calculators help players to refine their skills, and provide players with the support of a growing community.
BAND Connects Specialized Groups
BAND is a community forum service, designed to connect people with common interests. The social networking app has seen huge popularity from Pokemon Go fans across the globe, from the US to its burgeoning scene in India. The app stills provides one-to-one connections and chats, but BAND also provides a way for new self-moderated, specialist groups to form. Take for instance, its PokemonGoMasters, Team Valor and Team Mystic groups.
BAND recently announced that its Pokemon Go groups, or “bands” have reached over 130,000 fans, from over 2,400 groups across the globe. According to BAND, fans are sharing locations for certain spawn points of pokemon, they are sharing tricks and tips, and they are even planning real-life meetups.
PokeMatch Helps Fans Find Love
For those looking to connect on a more intimate level, PokeMatch is Tinder for Pokemon Go players. Similar to the original dating app, PokeMatch scans for players in the local area. Fans connect by throwing their PokeMon balls and seeing who they catch via the familiar right swipe. The app has already reached over 10 thousand matches, bringing a bit of romance to the game, or as PokeMatch puts it, helping to “find your very own Brock or Misty.”
This goes to show that today’s technology – no matter how addictive or all-consuming it may be – doesn’t have to tear you completely away from the real world. Pokemon Go fans are not fated to a solitary existence. New social networking apps and communities can also be used to help fans broaden their friendship circles, outside of the likes of Squirtle, Jigglypuff and Pikachu.
Author: Jacinta Spies
Jacinta Spies is a Journalism and International Relations student at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. She currently enjoys writing about technology as she travels throughout South America, immersing herself in the culture.