“Pokemon Go” is a cultural phenomenon, a way to get people outside to explore, and a textbook teaching moment for businesses. Though that last one seems far-fetched, it’s true that the game provides some valuable lessons for IT and the C-suite.
If you’ve somehow avoided it until now, “Pokemon Go” is the location-based augmented reality mobile game that blew up in popularity when it was released in July. The app and its rollout show how organizations big and small can better connect with their employees and customers, and capitalize on all the advantages mobile has to offer. So take heed of these seven lessons from “Pokemon Go.”
1. Make augmented reality, location awareness useful. “Pokemon Go” encourages players to explore through augmented reality, which places Pokemon in the real world, and transforms businesses and other locations into “gyms” where players interact.
By tapping into a mobile phone’s GPS capabilities and giving locations relevance, businesses can reach customers in new ways and at a more granular level, especially when coupled with beacon technologies. By providing useful, location-based information, organizations better serve existing and potential customers.
2. Your network will be tested, so be prepared. As “Pokemon Go” exploded in popularity, it also frustrated players who had trouble connecting due to overloaded servers. When rolling out an app, businesses can’t afford a network infrastructure unable to handle the influx of users.
Do a network assessment to understand your capacity and how to scale up, if necessary. If you’re rolling out an employee app, you’ll have a rough idea of the number of users; understanding external demand is more difficult. Regardless, you must know what your network can handle, which is a delicate balance of capacity versus demand.
3. Elements of gamification can extend beyond games. “Pokemon Go” draws in players with clear goals and rewards. The same gamification elements can encourage app adoption or goal completion for your business. Consider creating goals, tracking your successes, and issuing rewards through a business intelligence platform that gives you broader insight into what’s working and what’s not.
4. Mobile means more than smaller desktop apps. ”Pokemon Go” isn’t just the original game repackaged for smartphones – it’s a mobile-first creation. If you’re making a mobile app, aim to deliver an experience only possible on a mobile device. For example, a wallet app can hold credit card numbers, but to truly capitalize on the advantages of mobile, the phone’s fingerprint sensor could authenticate your identity, and its GPS capabilities could receive offers or coupons from beacons. So when developing a mobile app, ask yourself, “What capabilities unique to mobile can create new or better experiences?”
5. To succeed, find the right partner. Niantic had success with its previous augmented reality game, Ingress; Nintendo has sold millions of copies of games in the Pokemon franchise over the last two decades. Nintendo’s partnership with Niantic, therefore, has made “Pokemon Go” a huge success. Find a partner with the experience in the space you’re developing for. This partner will act as both a consultant and trusted advisor.
6. A minimum viable product is still a product. Just because your app isn’t perfect doesn’t mean you shouldn’t release a working version. “Pokemon Go” will ultimately add new features and functionality, but the developers got the first version out the door to much fanfare despite it not being “complete.”
The reality is mobile applications are never truly finished — features can always be built and expanded. Your app will grow as you receive feedback, so keep iterating and innovating. Ship your product and turn early success into future adoption and achievements.
7. Success arises from knowing your base. “Pokemon Go” feeds on players’ nostalgia for a game they played as kids. The developers played right into their audience’s preferences. In a similar way, organizations can consider what resonates with their users’ preferences. One example is choose your own device (CYOD). Employees can choose their device from a list IT will support. As a result, users can be productive on a device they like, and that also fits your support.
Spotting these hidden business lessons
“Pokemon Go” is a huge hit and offers important takeaways about how to connect with both your users and customers.
What are your big takeaways from the success of Pokemon Go? Leave us a comment below.