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If you walk down the street, you are more or less guaranteed to see someone spinning around on the spot staring into their phone as they try to find Pokemon. But you’re not alone if like many others you just don’t get it.
However, regardless of whether or not you’re buying into the hype, Pokémon Go’s spread is unprecedented and has now been installed on twice as many phones as the previously most downloaded app, Tinder, it’s beat Snapchat and Instagram for the average time spent in-app per day (amplitude.com), and is dwarfing Twitter’s percentage of daily active users (similarweb.com). All this surely means that those of us in property should be starting a conversation on its potential.
So what exactly is Pokémon GO?
It is a mobile phone app that uses GPS, Google maps and your phone’s camera to superimpose Pokémon into the real life environment in front of you, at this point you throw your Pokéballs at them to catch them. The aim is (yep you’re right…) to “catch ’em all”. Once you reach level 5, you can battle other players in the gyms to give your Pokémon more strength and win stuff to use on your Pokémon hunt. For those us born in the 90’s, we will remember the Pokémon phenomena first time round, when most of your classmates were collecting and trading the cards (if you’re struggling on a student loan or spending nearly half your graduate wages on your London rent, it may be time to dig them out and sell them!). However, unlike the 90’s game you have to get off your backside and follow the map of your area to access most parts of the game (maybe this is a solution for the obesity problem as well).
How big is this thing?
Enormous! Really, really enormous. Above is the time it took common usage items to gain 100 million users, 75 years for the landline phone, 16 years for the mobile phone, 4+ years for Facebook, 3+ for WhatsApp and 2+ for Instagram. For Pokémon Go this is looking likely to happen in 1 month! According to SensorTower, Pokémon Go has already been downloaded more than 30 million times and generated $35 million in revenue. To date that’s working out at around $1.6 million a day! As a comparison, Clash Royale the previous holder of biggest mobile gaming, revenue generator makes around $350,000 a day (SensorTower.com). As a result, Nintendo’s market capitalisation almost immediately doubled to $42.5bn (Reuters 20th July, 2016) despite not even having a completely stable version on offer yet! In addition, McDonalds, Japan is rumoured to be Pokémon Go’s first advertiser, which resulted in their shares jumping by 9.8%! Obviously there will be some drop-off, indeed this morning it is recorded that investors dumped $6 billion worth of stock in one day as they realised that Nintendo doesn’t actually make Pokémon Go, Niantic does – see flow chart below (the bigger question is what the hell were Google doing letting it go!).
What about all those complaints of severs down and invalid passwords and usernames?
Aside from the general rule that it doesn’t matter how many tech boffins and analysts you have creating something, it’s not until you release it for users to try that you can hone your offering, when 7.5 million people start playing at any one time there are going to be glitches but with something this big there are also great opportunities. Even before the marketing guys start appearing, businesses are already finding ways to benefit from this surge in foot traffic. A New York pizza bar has already cashed in on the craze, reporting a 75% increase in its weekend takings. In addition, we’ve seen the rise of organised Pokémon pub crawls and tourist trails (where most Pokéstops are set)
Retailers can download the app and check whether their business is situated at a gym or Pokéstop. If it is …. they can promote it and stick it on their Twitter, Instagram or Facebook account, uploading images of people catching Pokémon in order to drive traffic their way. If there is a bit of a budget available, retailers can buy Pokécoins to secure lure modules. At the moment the rates are as follows:
100 – £0.79
550 – £3.99
1200 – £7.99
2500 – £14.99
5200 – £29.99
14,500 – £79.99
1 lure module – 100 Pokécoins
8 lure modules – 680 Pokécoins
If the business is near a Pokéstop they’ll have the ability to insert lures into their location and extra Pokémon will appear for 30 minutes. You can even see when a Lure Module is being used by looking on the map for the flashing/falling pink confetti. For less than £17.50 you can buy 12 hours of Pokémon Go traffic, that’s less than £1.46 per hour. You could even try just one 30 minute slot for just £0.79. That’s what you’d call cheap marketing and a cheap entry point to try out its value. If it works the cost goes down the more you buy.
If the business is at a gym, where players can battle on behalf of their team (there are three that people can choose from and members tend to be ultra loyal – check out Twitter), again retailers can use social media to promote it and offer discounts. The aim of the win is to gain domination of that location and players generally need to be in that area for at least half an hour (usually more) to gain control of the gym. Hopefully they will flock to your doors and spend.
Even retailers who don’t have a Pokéstop or gym nearby, can offer colour specific items for different teams or maybe discounts to those on a certain level or for those who post on social media that they are at your place. This week the Mantra Group stated its hotels in Sydney and Melbourne were Pokemon friendly and is using lures and free chips to attract players to its bars. The lures will make it easier for customers to find and catch Pokemon characters and free bowls of fries are also being offered to players who purchase a drink.
Alternative Pokemon Go is battery heavy – offering charging stations tied into a purchase may be worth while. The game has only been out for a week. As it develops it’s user base will grow, the opportunities are infinite. We can only imagine there will be branded and limited edition Pokémon – think “MacciesD’s” — a McDonalds branded Pokémon available for one week in McDonalds stores. It’s inconceivable, especially in light of the McDonalds Tokyo rumours, that we won’t see geo-specific advertising where outlets drop pins on the Pokémon Go maps that offer discounts or free Pokeballs for viewing the ad. If the growth continues, the real life locations of Pokéstops and gyms, could be highly prized ad space and at some time in the future, I have no doubt that the trading we did in the 90’s will make a comeback and when it does, I’m fairly certain it will be location specific trading posts.
Not convinced your customers are playing Pokémon Go?
Well there is no formal demographic data on use yet, but there’s plenty of reasons to believe the user base is far more diverse than you would think. These are not all kids. But let’s say you’re right, and none of your clients or anyone you want to be a client is playing Pokémon Go just be aware that the Virtual and Augmented technology has been long awaited but the glasses and headwear are still a way off for mainstream use. On the other hand, mobile phones are ubiquitous. Whilst many Virtual Reality systems (that offer completely computer-generated images via a special headset, sensor gloves or other aids) are already gathering dust, many other companies will now look to implement the sort of AR platform that is superimposing digital images/Pokémons over our real-world, so get ready for the market in this type of Augmented Reality app to exploded.
Marketing is not my thing, so is this likely to impact my life as a surveyor?
I think it’s almost a cert that AR is set to impact every aspect of life as we know it and that includes real estate. So download the app and even if you find out that you don’t want “to catch ’em”, you will gain an advantage as you learn how AR will impact both residential and commercial property. We have now gained the main stream ability to superimpose potential developments on to existing landscape via mobile phone. Similarly, we must now be close to having the ability to point your mobile phone camera at a building to get information including pictures, videos, floor plans, contact details and possibly even comparables, Land Registry details and research info. Location-based mapping could locate potential or existing developments as well as commercial or residential property for sale or lease by flinging a pin down. Push notification (similar to those you get on Facebook) could easily alert you when you pass by properties you may be interested in.
Finally all this new data requirement and storage, needs the added infrastructure of new data centres. Pokemon Go has reignited the AR hype. So as our virtual and physical worlds draw ever closer, get out there and catch your advantage.