Pokemon Go: What is it and why is everyone talking about it?

Pokemon Go: What is it and why is everyone talking about it?
Thursday, July 21, 2016

The new Pokemon game that is taking New Zealand and the world by storm.  You will have had to be living in a cave (were there any Pokemon there?!!?) if you haven't picked up on the conversation around Pokemon in the last week or two...so what is Pokemon Go?  How can I download Pokemon Go?  What sort of impact will Pokemoon Go have on my broadband consumption?

Well.  Let's start with simply, what is Pokemon Go?  Why is NZ becoming obsessed with Pokemon Go?  Put simply, Pokemon Go is a new game that you can download and play on your mobile phone.

Pokemon Go launch around the world over the last two weeks and it began by completely and utterly capturing the imagination of loyal fans of the Pokemon TV show and Pokemon card collection game but has since grown to be a social gaming phenomanon.

So what exactly is all the fuss about?  Well, while the Pokemon card game dominated many a childhood across the globe (including to a degree NZ), Pokemon Go has taken this idea of hunting, finding and collecting Pokemon to an entirely new level.  You are basically a Pokemon hunter, much like the character Ash in the Pokemon TV show.

The Pokemon Go app uses the real world as a map and your real location, enabling you to explore the real world in search of Pokemon, who are hiding everywhere. So you could have a Pokemon Go Map of Auckland or a Pokemon Go Map of Wellington... basically Pokemon are hiding everywhere and when you find a Pokemon in the Pokemon Go Game they’ll appear on the NZ map and a quick tap of the Pokemon Go app will enter you into the mini game to catch the Pokemon!

This is where, what is known as augmented reality comes into play.  The Pokemon in question will appear in front of you via your smartphone camera and screen and you must use Poke Balls in order to catch it.  Different Pokemon appear close to their natural habitat – water-type Pokemon stay close to rivers and oceans for example.  So as you walk around the Pokemon Map of NZ you find different Pokemon and the idea is to catch them all!

Beyond exploring New Zealand and other places across the world to catch Pokemon, players can also head to “Gyms” where, as a member of one of three teams you can battle for control of the Gym and improve the powers of the various creatures in you Pokedex - which is the place where you keep your captured Pokemon... like a jail for Pokemon.

As well as these battle points, there are also PokeStops.  These are usually tied to major landmarks, monuments and other interesting places so some examples of Auckland Pokestops would be places like the SkyTower or Auckland Museum.  There are lots of maps for Pokestops starting to appear online to help people catch all the Pokemon in Pokemon Go.

Once you visit PokeStops you can also stock up on Poke Balls and other helpful items.  ONe more interactive part of the game is Pokemon Go Lures.  These are hotstops different Pokemon Go players can set up that lure nearby Pokemon to them for a 30 minute period. Crowds of people have already been spotted in various locations around Auckland, Wellington and New Zealand taking advantage of such Pokemon Go moments.

So what has the impact been on broadband and data consumption?  Well frankly... it is pretty astonishing. In a single day in the US, Pokemon Go managed to overtake Tinder in terms of app usage. There are already anecdotes appearing on social media of players attempting to catch Pokemon “no matter what” – including one user who carried on playing after being pulled over by the police and another who was playing as his wife was in labour.  All of this usage is taking up data from your mobile data allowance so our top tip would be keep your wi-fi on as much as possible when out hunting Pokemon to ensure you don't burn through your mobile data allowance.  This could be yet another reason to ensure you have unlimited data on your home broadband plan.

One great thing about Spark for Pokemon hunters is the numorous Spark wifi hotspots across and throughout New Zealand.  This means you get to use your home wifi plan whilst on the road, taking advantage of your NZ home broadband plan when out an about. It is very much worth keeping an eye on your mobile data consumption if you become a bit of a Pokemon Go addict!  

What is great about being a New Zealander (other than all the other great reasons) is that we get to play Pokemon Go!  The demand has been so huge that the release in countries like Japan and the UK was pushed back until the developer of the app could increase their server technology to support the huge demand for Pokemon Go!  As an example, taking some social media statistics, it is unbelieveable the surge of social media chatter about the Pokemon Go game in NZ and over the world - it's literally exploded. Mentions of the Pokemon Go game on social media between July 4-10 went from zero (yes... ZERO) to more than 1,250,000 in a single day, and more than 4.5 million mentions in total over the period. The volume of mentions doubled roughly every two days, and the hashtag #PokémonGo made 5,982,616,734 impressions during that period.  From NOTHING... in under one week.  When mentions of Pokémon Go are mapped according to geotags, the result is even more interesting, highlighting how truly global the mobile game's impact has been.

So why not give it a go... but as we always say at Broadband Compare.  WATCH YOUR DATA LIMITS.  Whether on mobile or home broadband plan.  Augmented reality takes up data and if you get addicted it could mean a surpising cost!

Check out the best unlimited data broadband plans in New Zealand on Broadband Compare.

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