The world changed recently. It gained a new layer.
A layer seen only in glimpse’s via tiny screens – acting as windows into a barely-synced parallel reality.
This layer provides no useful purpose, does not expand human ability’s, and is something people have to go out of their way to experience. And yet, it represents a compelling enough of an idea for tens of millions to be experiencing it on its day of release – even in regions where it was not out.
Significant enough to give the company that licensed it its biggest share bump since 1983. And while it trailed off a bit since release, it still topped 500 million downloads 1 since launch in just a few months.
While not the first of its kind, Pokemon Go is by far the most significant Augmented Reality game ever made. It has made visible what was invisible before.
Pushing not just AR into the mainstream, but also its very nature revealing also how mainstream gaming itself is.
It does this by feeding a two addictions humans have;
- humans are infovores. We crave new data feed to us regardless of value.
- humans love clearly defined goals they can achieve. “points” or in this case “collecting stuff”
And it feeds these addictions without tying us down to one location. (Over 4.6 billion kilometers have been walked so far by pokemon players 1 ). It gives us a new experience, a new satisfying task to do, while being part of the world, not apart from it.
In short, Pokemon Go is not significant as its a masterpiece. Its not significant as its some revolution of technology. Its significant because its the start of something that is now inevitable. This is a collectively shared layer to our world that large numbers are now experiencing. For many this will be just the first of such layers.
Once that idea is in peoples heads it wont go away. We can have thousands, millions, of layers synced with the physical world, for entertainment, social, or practical uses. A half virtual world will envelope the globe, and the next generation will grow up used to the idea of physical reality being but one of many things they see.
A few no-longer pocket sized monsters are just the start.