Pokémon Go launched July 6 last year as possibly the most anticipated mobile game launch to date, reaching 15 million global downloads in just one week. It quickly became the most downloaded app of all time. Niantic Labs had finally delivered and fans were going crazy for it. 8 months after launch they have announced the addition of 80 new Pokémon from Generation 2, but is it too little, too late?
Pokémon hunting became a common hobby for players all over the world. Urging people to get up and out of their homes in order to collect all of the available ‘mons. By December 2016 players had walked over 8.7 billion kilometres. Pokémon Go has roughly 231 million registered users and accounted for 43% of Android app usage in 2016. These are some impressive numbers to say the least.
Personally? I’ve waited 18 years for my dream of being a real world Pokémon trainer to become reality. Sure I don’t have a pet Growlithe, but with Pokémon Go I’m as close as I’m going to get before we really crack this whole gene manipulation thing. So the release of Pokémon Go! was a huge thing the world over, not just for me, but it was pretty huge for me anyways. It prompted me buying a new phone just to play the game (I was going to eventually anyway, this acted as a catalyst) and instead of spending my days off of work playing video games, I was out walking eggs and hunting Pokémon.
I’d dreamed of this for years and so when it launched, I threw myself at it, immersed myself in it, and I wasn’t the only one. The local Pokéstops became hotbeds of activity. For the first few months I would be constantly encountering other trainers and hunters, walking the same routes and exchanging tips and advice. You’d see a Pokémon appear on the tracker and hear some exclaim a little ways off that they found it, within moments everyone would flock to that person to catch it too. It was awesome!
But, as with everything it was short lived. Maybe it’s partly because of the winter months drawing in, people don’t want to be spending their time walking around outside in the cold and battling the elements. Or maybe it’s because the game stagnated and stagnated fast.
We were promised battles and trading, the two things every trainer lives for, and as of yet they are unfulfilled. Not to mention the range of available Pokémon remains limited to 144 of the original Pokémon and a select few from the 2nd generation. The enthusiasm died out pretty quick. The fun events seemed to come few and far between, they didn’t make up for the lack of expanded range.
Halloween saw the ghouls and the ghosts come out to play which was great for a while, but it quickly became annoying catching Gastly and Cubone around every corner. Christmas brought the adorable Christmas Pikachu and Raichu. Double XP and stardust were great, the introduction of daily bonuses was good too, but everyone was asking “Where’s trading? Battles?” and most of us still are.
That being said, the news today (Feb 15) that Gen 2 Pokémon will be joining the Pokédex should be lifting my heart, the kid in me should be excited that I’ll be able to go out there and catch some new ‘mons… but it’s not. It doesn’t fill me with that burning desire to throw on my running shoes and go out chasing the dreams I once held so dear.
Sure the hype was never going to last forever, all fads come to an end, it’s just how it is, but Pokémon Go seems to have peaked too early with it’s initial launch and lack of new content over the 8 months since. Could they have delayed the inevitable by releasing the new Pokémon sooner? Or giving us some kind of community challenge to unlock the elusive legendary birds or Mewtwo?
I’m not saying it’s not going to draw some fans back, but is it going to draw all of them? Hell no. Sure I’m going to go out there hunting for the new Pokémon, but I’m not likely to be as committed to it as I was, nor are a lot of others.
Niantic did something incredible with Pokémon Go, that’s undeniable, but is the release of Gen. 2 Pokémon this long after launch too little too late? I think so. They missed their chance to keep fans engaged in a big way by doing their smaller little updates and events that were great for a time but short lived. There’s been too few developments over too long a time for this move to draw back the massive numbers they pulled upon release.
That being said… Mother. Fucking. Wooper. I would walk over broken glass for that adorable little bastard.
Those of you that are going to get back out there and re-join the hunt, then I will see you out there. Stay safe and happy hunting folks!