An interesting thing is happening in the gaming industry. As our devices and games are growing more sophisticated, they’re also become more effective at getting gamers to interact with each other and enjoy the real world. It’s a stark contrast to the stereotypical image of gamers as lone individuals hunched over control pads, and it’s becoming clear in all different avenues of gaming.
The very clearest example, may just be the emergence of competitive gaming as a sort of sport, for lack of a better word. eSports events not only put gamers in public arenas, but they have also drawn massive crowds, sometimes involving tens of thousands of viewers. The games haven’t changed though, because longtime favorites like League Of Legends and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive tend to draw the biggest crowds. But the nature of gaming as a more competitive exercise has blended video games and the real worlds for everyone with an interest in eSports.
There are also some smaller examples elsewhere in the gaming world. The online casino industry has gone a long way toward blending real-life and gaming as well, whether by providing real-time multiplayer options or, more specifically, providing online bingo rooms with tangible rewards. For instance, playing bingo can win you an actual holiday, with destinations changing by the day. And occasionally, it can win you a trip to a particular featured event, such as a major sporting tournament or something of the like. Promotions like these allow people who are already playing a very interactive form of gaming to use those games as a means of generating real-world experiences.
I could continue providing examples but you get the point. Certain mobile games invite players to communicate in person while they play. Virtual reality gaming facilitates a whole new type of interaction, and it’s even becoming more popular in venues that act as public gaming centers rather than solely in homes with small headsets. And there will always be new innovations right around the corner.
But in this modern environment in which the lines between gaming and the real world are blurring so much more frequently, it seems that Niantic, Inc. and Nintendo may be onto something ideal. The Pokémon Go mobile app is a dream come true for countless Nintendo fans, and a brilliantly unique game that takes place in our reality.
If you’re not familiar with the app, it’s one that quite literally (in its description) asks you to “get your shoes on, step outside, and explore the world.” Why? Well, because when you have the app activated and you’re out walking the dog or exploring your neighbourhood, you’ll occasionally feel a vibration from your device. That means there’s a Pokémon nearby, and you’ll need to pull out your device to aim a Poké Ball and try to capture it. Naturally, you can then begin to train and evolve your Pokémon, and even pit them against other trainers to earn experience and win prestige for your gym (you join one of three teams when you start off).
It’s a full version of old Pokémon games meant to be played out in the real world. The game was only just released in the U.S., and while there were early reports of bugs and glitches, it’s easy to imagine it becoming extraordinarily popular in the coming weeks and months. Pokémon Go makes you feel like there are real Pokémon and trainers lurking all around us, and it’s been an absolute blast so far.