Just over three months ago, Pokemon Go took over the globe as children and adults alike ran around in nearly 100 degree heat trying to catch ‘em all. Several Target stores even painted their outdoor red spheres to look like Pokeballs, and restaurants and shops used their Pokestop status to lure in customers (some of them literally used the lure feature in the game to do this).
I downloaded the game with my usual cynical mindset of, “I already think this is dumb and I’m only going to play this when I’m bored out of my mind.” A week later, I was scurrying around a bar at 11 p.m. trying to find a Tangela while a Cure cover band played in the background. I never caught it, by the way.
While the Pokemon Go hype was bigger than anything we’ve seen for other phone apps, the novelty was clearly fading away within a month. Almost four months later, nobody I know plays it anymore.
Some people, myself included, got annoyed with flaws in the app’s format. Some were legitimate concerns, such as a ridiculous amount of lag and freezing. Others were up for debate on whether they needed to be fixed or not, such as the app giving you no time to heal your Pokemon before taking over a gym, usually causing you to lose the gym as a result. The “nearby” feature was also changed, making it more difficult to accurately locate a specific Pokemon. Niantic, the developer of the app, has stayed silent on a lot of these issues.
However, it probably wouldn’t make much of a difference either way. Most people just quit playing out of boredom, not because of any problems in the game. The seemingly endless real-world adventure is cool at first, until you eventually realize that at least 50 percent of the Pokemon you come across are Pidgeys and the good Pokemon you rarely come across eventually just don’t feel worth scouring around for anymore. There’s no trading, battling or storyline at all. Once you get bored of capturing Pokemon, you’ve gotten bored of the entire app.
Many users have said they would like to see more features in the app. Some even expressed hope for it to eventually become somewhat of the Pokemon massive multiplayer online roleplaying game fans have been begging for for over a decade (if you don’t believe that, just search “Pokemon MMORPG” on any and every petition website). This would include real-time battles with other users, the Pokemon having actual movesets, Pokemon trades, the ability to bond and play with your Pokemon, similar to the recent 3DS games, and events that move the storyline forward as opposed to just leveling up.
Unfortunately, in order to add more features, Pokemon Go would likely have to start charging its users, and honestly, I think most people wouldn’t be down with that. Pokemon 3DS games average only around $40 new. A mobile game, no matter how many upgrades are made, will never come close to matching any of the handheld console games, and wouldn’t be worth even a fraction of the price. Not to mention, the game is already notorious for draining battery life, and adding more features could potentially make that worse.
I don’t want to sound like one of those pretentious losers saying “I told you so” about this app, because there’s enough of them already. I think it was a lot of fun during the first few weeks, and it did a great job of getting people off their butts and outside to interact face-to-face with other people. With quite a few upgrades, Pokemon Go could potentially pick back up again after the hype for Sun and Moon dies down. You never know. For now however, it appears as though Pokemon Go will go down as a mere fad.