Pokémon Go became the biggest mobile game in U.S. history in nine days. Yet, its significance goes beyond the popularity of the game. Pokémon Go provides a glimpse into a future of augmented reality. The game’s popularity could signal the onset of a new era that blends together both the real-and-virtual world. It provides businesses with innovative ways to attract clients. Restaurants have already found ways to leverage Pokémon Go to level up sales. In the tech industry, we often talk about how cloud computing enables innovation and growth. Pokémon Go is a tremendous example of how cloud computing can enable innovation and viral growth.
Unlike traditional games, Pokémon Go fuses the the digital world with the real world. Players walk around searching for Pokémon, characters also referred to as “Pocket Monsters”. Pokémon have been found all over. They are most likely in your neighborhood. They are at many popular tourist spots. A recent citing of a Pokémon in Central Park led to a stampede of people hoping to capture it.
According to some reports, the game has better usage stats than Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Using the cloud, Pokémon Go has scaled to meet tremendous growth and expand. Just this past weekend, the game was rolled out to 26 new countries in Europe. Plans are for the game to launch in roughly 200 countries.
G2 Crowd has an article on the technologies used to create Pokémon Go. Cloud technologies have allowed the game to rapidly expand and onboard new users. Niantic Labs, the creators of the game, spun out from Google and uses Google’s cloud services. The mobile backend is build using a Google App Engine PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service). All the data is stored and indexed using the Google Cloud Datastore NoSQL service and user monitoring is done using Google Analytics. Using the cloud services is just part of the equation though. There is still some skill to writing the applications.
Supporting a viral game is no easy task. There have been growing pains, like multiple world-wide multi-hour outages. I suppose there are worse problems than how to support viral growth.
It has just been a few weeks since the launch of Pokémon Go. The usage stats are staggering. It could, as a CNBC article headline says, “change the course of technology”. It will definitely inspire progress in augmented reality.