June Games News
The Craft of Game Design Cannot Be Measured By Any Metric

Pokémon GO Round-up

Before you ask, I’m not playing Pokémon GO, nor do I plan too. I’m a father, a writer, and a business owner – I don’t have time to play an MMO. But it’s interesting to me, since this is another example of a game where the fictional content is far and away the critical factor in its success. My old MUD crowd played Niantic’s previous game, Ingress, and had a lot of fun with it – but anyone who has ever enjoyed any aspect of Pokémon is playing GO, and that’s not just the power of branding – it’s the power of fictional worlds.

Here, in case you missed them, are the best articles so far about Pokémon GO:

  • Firstly, do not miss Raph Koster’s piece, AR is an MMO. The title may not grab you, but this is Raph on top form, reiterating a point he and I have both made (and that he made first…) which is that the important thing about both MMOs and AAA console games is that they are worlds – and Niantic need to wise up fast to the consequences of a player community this large sharing one world.
  • At the border of paranoia is Omari Akil’s Warning: Pokemon GO is a Death Sentence if you are a Black Man. Thanks to my old school chum, Simon Cox, for drawing my attention to this one.
  • Omari’s fears are grounded in the horrific reality of race relations in the US, of course, so it’s perhaps worth reminding everyone that there are more prosaic risks entailed in playing a game on your phone while you walk around a city… Consider the 15-year old girl in Pennsylvania who got hit by a car while allegedly playing the game.
  • As for Nintendo, the total value of their stock (their market capitalisation) has gained $11 billion (!) since the game was released…
  • …but as Steve Schaefer at Forbes correctly points out, there’s no way the game can deliver income commensurate to that increase in stock value, so Nintendo ought to prepare themselves for the other side of that particular mountain.


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Chris, I think your language is a little out of place when discussing Omari's experiences.
"At the border of paranoia" - Paranoia usually implies an unreasonable fear. Fear of being in a public space and acting strangely isn't unreasonable, as you acknowledge in the next paragraph.

"there are more prosaic risks" - while it might be more prosaic for white people to walk into a tree or get hit by a car, the reality of police behavior towards black people is absolutely commonplace. just not commonplace for people like us.

i otherwise appreciate the roundup!

Hi Zach,
I appreciate the pushback here.

'Paranoia' refers to any thought-process that is dominated by fear or anxiety. It need not imply delusion or be completely unreasonable. Omari's fears are grounded in something that justifies them, but I still think his piece is on the border of paranoia. Actually, I think 'borderline of paranoia' describes the mental state of a lot of people in the US in a lot of situations these days.

As for my choice to emphasise cars over police violence: the thousand people a year killed by police in the US is dwarfed by the 30,000 deaths caused by motor vehicles. There are serious problems with the police in the US, absolutely, but car fatalities are a global problem everyone brushes under the carpet.

Personally, while unlawful killings by the police in the US are disgraceful, I believe the problems with the US police forces go beyond race, just as the problems with race go far beyond the police.

So I stand by my remarks, but I also recognise the legitimacy of your concerns.

Thanks again for commenting!


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)