You will be well aware of a little known app that was released in the UK this July called Pokemon Go. And if you haven’t, lets be quite frank, you may have been living under a rock this past month. This July, Pokemon Go was released to the UK audience and children and adults born in the late 80’s/early 90’s went insane. Especially the later who you can see the sheer nostalgia all over their faces.
But is the App changing the way that the generalised public look at fitness? Has this App actually done what we as Fitness Professionals have been trying to do for the past decades? Has this App actually made people get fit, enjoy the process and not really know that they are doing it at the same time?
Essentially, if you look at it from an exercise point of view, Pokemon Go is a well-designed Fitbit that keeps the user engaged into the game and promotes them to go outside and explore the surrounding areas to catch Pokemon. Now we know that just walking around the street isn’t going to necessarily turn a beer barrel bellied man into an Adonis. However what this app is doing is building up people’s daily calorific expenditure or TEA (Thermal effect of activity). Over a period of days, weeks or months of playing this game, your average daily step count is going to rise.
One of the features of the game is the Pokemon eggs. These are eggs that the players have to hatch through walking a certain amount of distance. And we aren’t just talking about a couple 100 meters. The egg hatching distances that you need to walk can vary from 2km to 10km. This in turn will also make the players think about ways in how they can get in those extra steps to hatch these eggs. It could be walking to the shops instead of driving on their dinner hour at work or taking the dogs out for an extra walk a day.
What this is doing is changing the way the players perceive and think about exercise as a whole. If you would ask players to go to the gym and run 5k on a treadmill some people would straight away come up with an excuse not to do it. Whereas they could be finding excuses to actually walk 5k to go to a Pokemon Gym to level their Pokemon up. Either way there is no denying that Pokemon Go can have an effect on peoples exercise habits and daily routines.
So could this be the new age for gaming? Long are the days of staying in your room for hours on end with you’re A4 cheat code sheet. And now is a new dawn for games that are actually promoting people to go outside, explore and alter their daily routines for the better by raising their daily calorie expenditure. So what are your thoughts on this game?