Pokémon Go is a free, augmented reality Pokémon game for Android and iOS mobile devices created by Niantic and released in the US on July 7, 2016. It has since been released in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Plans are underway for release in Germany, Japan and other countries. This new Pokémon game allows players to search real-world locations for hidden Pokémon and capture them.

The story of Pokémon Go reads like a fairy tale of resurgence. A lot has been written in recent weeks about how Niantic and The Pokémon Company developed this record breaking game. But let us dig into the reasons for their success to understand where they are coming from and what opportunities Pokémon Go provides for you to build your business!

Gaming has matured from the early 1970s curiosity of scientists to an industry of $95 billion revenues in 2015. With new titles being released almost every quarter, and an increasing appetite for complex and reality based games, there is a demand for bigger budgets not just for the developers, but also for the players who need ever more expensive hardware gadgetry to indulge themselves.

The developers of Pokémon devised a simple, internet-based game that runs on a smartphone and utilizes virtual reality to maximize interaction between people and their environment. Its popularity has shot through the roof as people turn their smartphones into Poké Balls to capture and train Pokémon. The game already commands more mindshare per user than apps like Snapchat or WhatsApp and is poised to have more daily active users in the U.S. than Twitter in a short time.

In stark contrast to the original 1990s’ version, played on a Nintendo Gameboy, this augmented-reality game forces its users to explore the world around them to catch the 150 Pokémon currently available, battle against other users, and collect items to power up their arsenal of pocket monsters. It is undoubtedly the best game of the summer, rewarding users for walking around and discovering new places; connecting people, and helping businesses to attract new customers. Just see this article by IGN.com on how Pokémon Go has had an overwhelmingly positive effect on local businesses. Never before has a game so successfully integrated into our real life scenarios.

Pokémon Franchise Timeline

The Pokémon franchise spans six generations of releases and almost 280 million video games sold across all markets, second only to Nintendo’s other globally recognized Mario franchise.

The story of Pokémon began on February 26, 1996 in Japan with the launch of the game in two versions, Red and Green, for the Game Boy . In 1998 Blue Version was added with the release of the US franchise where it caught the attention of young and old alike. That same year saw the launch of the still massively popular Pokémon Trading Card Game. In 1999 the first Pokémon spin-off in the US was released. 1999 also saw the release Pokémon Yellow Version and the first 3D Pokémon game, Pokémon Snap.

Pokémon Stadium debuted in 2000, as did Pokémon Gold and Silver and Hey You, Pikachu! Pokémon Gold and Silver had better color resolution, twice as many Gyms as the original, and introduced 100 new Pokémon. Hey You, Pikachu! gave Pokémon fans the ability, for the first time, to talk directly to Pokémon.

Pokémon Crystal, released in 2001, was the first Pokémon game that allowed players to choose between a male or female protagonist. Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, released in 2003, were the first Pokémon games for the Game Boy Advance. Pokémon Channel, similar to Hey You, Pikachu! was also released in 2003.

The years after saw the following releases:

2004: Pokémon Colosseum, Pokémon FireRed and LeafGreen

2005: Pokémon Dash, Pokémon Emerald and Pokémon XD

2006: Pokémon Ranger, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon Red Rescue Team and Blue Rescue Team; and Pokémon Trozei!

2007: Pokémon Diamond and Pearl; Pokémon Battle Revolution.

2008: Pokémon Ranger and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Time and Explorers of Darkness.

2009: Pokémon Platinum, Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Explorers of Sky and Pokémon Rumble.

2010: Pokémon HeartGold and SoulSilve;PokePark Wii: Pikachu’s Adventure and Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs

2011: Pokémon Black and White bring interaction between Pokémon and players online while Pokémon Rumble Blast debuted Nintendo’s handheld.

2012: PokePark 2, Pokémon Conquest and Pokémon Black 2 and White 2.

2013: Pokémon Mystery Dungeon: Gates to Infinity, Pokémon Rumble U (downloadable) and Pokémon X and Y.

2014: Pokémon Art Academy, Pokémon Battle Trozei, Pokémon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire

2015: Pokémon Shuffle is released for the Nintendo 3DS, and coming to the Android and IOS mobile platforms later that year. Pokémon Rumble, Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon and Pokémon Picross were also released last year.

2016: Pokken Tournament and Pokémon Go have already been released. Pokémon Sun and Moon are slated for later this year.

2016 (July 7th) – Pokémon Go Released in US, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, the UK, and Italy. Share values soar!

July 20, 2016: Pokémon Go has been downloaded more than 30 million times worldwide. There are more daily users on Pokémon Go than on Facebook!