It’s a game so popular that it is expected to soon surpass Twitter in daily active users. Canadians, however, have been a little less crazed about the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go. Unless of course you are in Newfoundland.
According to data from Google, Pokémon Go, an augmented reality mobile game, has been on a tear since its July 6 release, achieving the highest score of a search term can get, a 100 from Google Trends, a service that monitors relative search term traffic on the world’s most popular search engine.
Pokémon Go has been a more popular in the United States than it has been in Canada in this time, scoring a 100 in the U.S. on Saturday, while Canada registered a mere 92. When broken down by province, one can see that interest in the Japanese game varies wildly across Canada, peaking at a 100 score in Newfoundland and Labrador, scoring just a 38 in Ontario, and bottoming out at a mere 26 in Nova Scotia.
Pokémon Go works by layering virtual reality over the real world. Players create an avatar and then, taking advantage of the gyroscopes and digital cameras in smartphones, walk around the real world collecting Pokémon. The types of Pokémon available vary according to topography -aquatic Pokémon are usually found near actual bodies of water.
If this sounds like a dangerous distraction you’re not alone; a news item surfaced this weekend that a man caused a major traffic accident while playing the game. The report, however, turned out to be untrue.
But the game has already been the culprit of some minor bumps and bruises.
“I just wanted to be able to stop quickly if there were any Pokemons nearby to catch,” said Mike Schultz, a 21-year old Long Island resident who wiped out on his skateboard this weekend while playing the game. “I don’t think the company is really at fault.”
It’s important to note than when we’re talking about the popularity of Pokémon Go in Canada we’re talking about searches for the game only, because it still isn’t officially available here. Because of its popularity (the game is now likely on more than 6 per cent of all Android devices, worldwide) Nintendo has had to stage its rollout. In a post on Friday, the game’s official Twitter account said the company was working on server issues and would be rolling out Pokemon GO to new countries soon.
It remains to be seen if can sustain its initial interest, but Pokémon Go is already a certified phenomenon. The game actually caused shares of Nintendo, which owns a third of the game, to jump 10 per cent the day after its release. Some think the game might mark a turning point for the company that brought the world Super Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong.
“The company has huge intangible assets like characters but it hasn’t been trying to use them seriously. But the success of its Pokémon GO shows the company has got great content,” one Tokyo-based asset manager told Reuters.