Gotta catch ‘em all, right? Having played ‘Pokémon Go’ as a Pokémon fan (but not a die-hard one) it’s so easy to see the instant appeal of collecting (yet again) those little critters, says Zuby Ahmed, Programme Director for MSc Video Game Enterprise, Design & Production and BA/BSc Interactive Entertainment at Birmingham City University.

The game has been designed to draw the user in quickly within the realms of real world engagement. How cool was it the first time you caught a Pokémon in your living room? How cool was it when you rocked up to your local PokéStop and got given a load of pokéballs and rare eggs? Then there’s engagement with the gyms. That feeling you get when you reach Level 5 and you’ve picked your team (Team Mystic all the way!) to then power up your Pokémon to take part in Gym Battles! It all sounds great, right? But at what cost?

Since the game’s been out so much cause-and-effect has happened, on small and large scales. Walking along phone watching, waiting for that rare Pokémon to pop up on screen and then, boom, you’ve walked into someone or something! Terrific! The gentle reminder at the start of the game to be alert and aware of your surroundings is soon forgotten as the feeling of gratification takes over from having caught a Pokémon that your friends don’t yet have. We’ve seen people walk and bump into lampposts, die-hard fans falling into rivers accidentally, even those foolish enough to crash their cars into police cars whilst playing the game!

Then there’s the bigger picture of companies and organisations requesting to be removed from the game, as they do not wish to be part of the PokéStop system, for reasons varying from sensitivity issues to public disturbance.

The biggest cause-and-effect comes from looking at Nintendo’s market value; rising to $7.5 billion in just two days after the game’s release. However, after Nintendo clarified to its shareholders that it didn’t develop or distribute Pokémon Go, nor does it hold ownership rights, the company stock price dropped so drastically in a single day that $6.7 billion was wiped from Nintendo’s market cap in its biggest one-day drop since 1990. Pokémon Go, you have a lot to answer for!

Despite all this, the game is going strong and what with the Pokémon Go Plus wearable tech soon to be released, who knows what will happen next? Whilst sold out on Nintendo’s online store, some pesky eBay entrepreneurs are selling them for nearly double the cost. How will this new wearable tech take the game further? Watch this space!

Find out how you could study a computer games course at Birmingham City University’s New Technology Institute.

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