Overheard at a park: “Yahaan pe Pokemon hain kya?” (Is there any Pokemon here?)
Who would’ve thought a VIDEO GAME would get India’s youth out of their homes and onto the streets.
“My brother and I once went all around Delhi from 9 in the morning till 11 at night playing Pokemon Go. We only stopped for meals in between” confesses 19-year-old Aarushi Popli.
For a lot of 20 somethings, Pokemon Go is their first wave of nostalgia.
It brings back memories of eagerly waiting for 5pm when Pokemon would telecast on Cartoon Network and rushing to the nearby shop with a prized Rs. 10 note to buy a packet of Cheetos for the Pokemon collectible card inside.
You don’t even have to be a 90s kid to get hooked onto this game.
An absorbing hunt
“Even senior lawyers in the Supreme Court play Pokemon Go because you can find many Pokemons there” says Vaibhav L, a law intern in Delhi, as he holds up his phone scanning the metro station around him.
Pokemon Go has such mass appeal because it’s easy to play. It’s the world’s biggest scavenger hunt and whips up a child-like excitement over the breadcrumb trail Pokemon Go’s creators have set up.
And the hunt isn’t restricted to a mythical land online – it’s right around you. Regardless of whether you’re at a metro station, a monument or a temple, you are bound to find a Pokemon pop up.
“I never used to visit temples much. But there are so many Pokemons found in temples now and I’ve started going regularly. My parents are so happy!” says Dipita Sehgal, 19.
And she’s not the only one.
— Shefali Nayak (@shefalijolie) July 18, 2016
— Himalay Patel (@himmu10) July 16, 2016
Although it hasn’t officially released in India yet, users are downloading the game as an APK file on their smart devices.
The new talking point is now Pokemon Go.
From Virtual to Social
“Earlier people used to say ‘Let’s meet over a beer’. Now they say ‘Let’s meet over a Pokewalk’” declares Smriti Singhal, co-founder of The Education Tree.
Singhal and others at The Education Tree kept seeing their interns running around the office trying to catch Pokemon. They decided that as a bonding exercise, they organise a small walk to catch Pokemon. What started as a team-building activity has now turned into the highly-anticipated Pokewalk, which saw more than 2000 people attending.
Pokemon Go has broken the internet and is spawning non-stop memes on Twitter. For most, it’s to express the amount of “accidental” exercise Pokemon GO has given them.
After running round the streets playing Pòkemon Go with Hannah, my legs officially hurt… Accidental exercise is always good👍🏻
— Chloe Ann (@KhloeBakewell) July 12, 2016
Pokemon go got more kids to do exercise in 24 hours then Michelle Obama did in 8 years
— Morgan Hart (@morganhhart) July 10, 2016
For others, it’s to list all the new places they’ve been able to visit because of the game.
It hasn’t even spared Narendra Modi. Many hope that the tech-friendly Prime Minister starts playing the game too.
Guess who is playing “Pokémon Go” on an international level. pic.twitter.com/L1Upune1WO
— Aisi Taisi Democracy (@AisiTaisiDemo) July 12, 2016
— VIKAS (@heart_wills) July 14, 2016
Untapped potential in India
Adventure, Business and Community – seems like Pokemon Go has its ABC’s right but the D – data may be in danger. There are concerns with exactly how much of your personal data Pokemon Go has access to. Is it too invasive?
“People have been using Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans for years and they are asking for essentially the same information that Pokemon Go does. If you’re so worried about your data being stolen, then delete your Facebook account” shrugs Pramod Emjay, an entrepreneur who has been a fan of the Pokemon franchise from the past 10 years.
These fears seem miniscule compared to the potential Pokemon Go has. The next big boom in business could just be driven by Pokemon Go.
A bakery in Delhi is already looking towards Pokemon-themed macaroons. Lokesh Anand of L’Opera Patisserie says that brands who can capitalise on Pokemon’s cult value will see huge returns. “Maybe on the day of its India release we will have collectible items on sale” he smiles.
It’s just been 2 weeks since Pokemon Go launched. It could die down like Flappy Bird or Angry Birds, but if it’s a A’Poke’lypse that’s coming, then it doesn’t seem that bad after all.