Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon Go Economy

I think the writer of this gets one thing wrong about how apps, specifically like Pokemon Go can interact with local economies.  While the "internet destroys local business" is actually correct in a lot of ways, augmented reality apps like Pokemon Go could actually turn that around.  The reason is that, while a normal game leaves me in my living room, this one gets me out into the world around.  I was at my train station last night (walking dog but also hitting pokestops and catching pokemon when their servers allowed) and there were 8 people sitting there and I saw another half a dozen at least walk by.  There isn't anything open there that time of night, but what if there was a bar, or ice cream shop or all night diner--better one with free wifi?

And it doesn't have to be food/drink related (just those are easier things to pop into small spaces), It could be shopping or recreational.  If people are going to walk around a lot more, they are more likely to pop in and out of places they walk by--even if most don't--so being near a gym or pokestop has advantages for businesses that know to take advantage.  Additionally, someone could imagine something like Pokemon Go busses being set up...particularly in areas where the critters are less populous and pokestops are fewer and further between.

But really, augmented reality type games, by their nature, could be a boon to local economies. Local businesses could have stakes in the games, where they need to authenticate something, or where they could, instead of advertising, pay to have their place of business be a stop for something.  Maybe a virtual pet can be trained regularly, but if you get at least 8 oz at a DIY frozen yogurt place you can "feed" your pet some and it gets a special trait, or it levels up faster (a one time bar code prints out on your receipt).  Basically a purchase at a store has an ancillary purchase associated in a game.

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