Seemingly overnight, a single game — Pokémon Go — has taken people by storm. But it’s a game that was technically years in the making, building on a legacy of creative intellectual property and technologies such as mobile, geomapping/ geolocation, computer vision, and more. And since “toys are the prelude to serious ideas” [Charles and Ray Eames] or “the next big thing will start out looking like a toy” [Chris Dixon via Clayton Christensen], we want to understand this phenomenon beyond the hype and the hope. Not only is Nintendo stock soaring, but people are sharing amazing stories of massive public play, meeting strangers; subway, transportation, and other warnings; fighting crime; saving shelter dogs; and helping autistic children.
So what are some of the mechanics behind the game and its viral growth (and is this also a case of network effects)? Is this the first in a new wave of phone-based lightweight augmented reality a.k.a. “light AR“? How will things change as our environments become even more sensorified or more people embrace “camera expression” (as with Snapchat)? And finally, what does an “appified game” vs. a “gamified app” mean for monetization?
In this episode of the a16z Podcast, a16z deal team partners Anu Hariharan and Kyle Russell (in conversation with Sonal Chokshi) are joined by Product Hunt CEO and founder — and cultural trendwatcher/maker — Ryan Hoover to discuss all this and more. So how do we tell the difference between a fad and something that’s here to stay??