Pokemon Go is doing pretty great right now. It launched in Australia and the US to millions of downloads in just a few short days, with its success earning itself a top spot on app charts everywhere. People are going crazy about it. You can probably look up at any given moment on the street and see someone hunting down a Pikachu.
That success has resulted in some good times for Nintendo, the company who exclusively works with The Pokemon Company to release Pokemon games. Nintendo shares soared to 24.5% in Japan as of the close of Japanese markets Monday.
It’s a good sign that Pokemon Go will have a hold on the global populace. After all, it’s a reimagination of everyone’s favorite pastime — collect Pokemon and have them battle for you… in the real(ish) world. Nintendo’s next goal is obviously to turn that interest into revenue by dangling in-app purchases in your face to make your hunting quest easier.
That great success also comes with some great problems, though. Niantic apparently underestimated the popularity of the game and server issues have been plaguing the experience ever since launch.
While the company looks to get things under control, they have had to halt their global rollout plans in places like the UK while they increase network capacity. Considering Pokemon Go is only officially available in 3 markets right now, it would seem Niantic has a lot on their plate to make sure they can smoothen things out for the long run.
Another big issue Pokemon Go faces is its dangerous location-driven nature. Reports have flown in of bad guys using the game to draw people in to rob them. In the game, you can deploy a beacon at a Pokestop (several checkpoints where you can get free items) to draw more Pokemon to the area. Anyone in the area can see these beacons and go there to reap the rewards. Unfortunately, what some found when they got there was a weapon in their face.
Be careful when you approach some of these public checkpoints.
This sort of social engineering is unique to a game like Pokemon Go, and while real world fun is exhilarating, it’s highlighting a big problem that could affect the current model down the line. This problem wasn’t really highlighted in Ingress — the similar first game by Niantic — because it wasn’t nearly as popular. With the amount of folks playing Pokemon Go, well, some are seeing it as a cash cow in an entirely different way. We’re not saying Nintendo will eventually have to end Pokemon Go, but they might have to rethink some of its elements (like the ability to deploy those beacons) to avoid a scary future.
For now, though, folks are still going crazy over Pokemon Go, and it doesn’t seem like the craze will subside anytime soon.