Tech Notes

3 Mobile Application Development Lessons from Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go is a fascinating case study. Here are three lessons that app developers can learn from the popular app's success.

Pokemon Go is taking over. Released only a month ago, it quickly became one of the most popular apps (and talking points) around the world, prompting users everywhere to catch ’em all in the real world.

The augmented reality app takes the classic game concept, which consists of catching and training fictional ‘pokemon’ animals, and puts it into the real world. Players view the world through their phone camera, and see virtual aspects overlaid onto the real world.

In the world of mobile application development Pokemon Go is a fascinating case study. The app exploded onto the scene, leaving plenty of room for analysis and takeaways if you want to build a great – if completely unrelated – app for your business. Here are 3 lessons you can learn from the app’s success.

1) Gamification is Here to Stay

We’ve written in the past about gamification, the concept of taking regular administrative or business processes and adding a game element to it in order to increase users and engagement. Pokemon Go may not at first seem like a great example of this concept, considering it’s a game to begin with. But look beyond the surface, and it’s much more.

Many of the game’s milestones can only be accomplished through long walks. That, in many ways, makes Pokemon Go a fitness app. Meanwhile, the game’s ability to transport players into historical versions of their neighborhood through virtual overlay makes it educational. As a player, you just don’t know it, because you’re too busy enjoying the game. It’s the perfect example of immersive gamification.

2) Innovative Technology Matters

You heard it in the introduction. Pokemon Go is an augmented reality app. But it’s more than that: It’s the first augmented reality app that has captivated mainstream consumers. Why? Because it is the first to integrate the new technology with a classic concept into an actual, approachable, environment.

The lesson here is clear: Many apps can be successful, but your chances of success are greater if you build an app based on innovative technology that has not existed in that form before. If you can be the one that breaks through with a mobile application concept that your audience has never seen before, users will flock to and engage with it.

3) If The App is Good Enough, You Can Save on Marketing

The concept if you build it, they will come has long been disproven as a sound marketing strategy. But every now and then, if your product is good enough for your audience to be blown away, it can still work. Even a very good mobile application needs marketing support to get off the ground. An outstanding one, however, might not need much.

Pokemon Go currently has higher user engagement than Facebook, and more active daily users than Twitter – and it accomplished that feat without a single bit of advertising. When released in early July, the app was simply so novel and creative that users started telling their friends, and the concept snowballed.

For app developers, that reveals a singular truth: quality matters more than anything. If you can build an application that is good enough for your users to become organic advocates, your user base will increase exponentially.

Learning the Lessons

Pokemon Go, in short, is more than just a fun new app. It might be a fad; one year from now, we might look back at it with a knowing smile, remembering the short time when the world fell in love with augmented reality. But the lessons mobile app development can learn from it are very real, and will remain true.

Building an app requires more than just an idea. You need a strategy, as well as a reliable and professional partner that can help you through the process and develop a mobile application your audience will love. To get in touch with a company that might just be that partner for you, contact us.

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