Pokémon GO: Capturing the Future of Social Media

Catherine Mills    July 17, 2016

No matter which social media platform I’m on, there it is…. No matter which conversation I join, someone brings it up…. Turn on the news and there is again… Pokémon GO. Pokémon GO is officially the biggest mobile game in the United States, with 21 million active daily users.1

According to Wikipedia it is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and published by The Pokémon Company. It was released in July 2016 for iOS and Android devices. The game allows players to capture, train, and battle virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of the GPS and camera of compatible devices. Although it is free-to-play, the game supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items. An optional companion Bluetooth wearable device, the Pokémon GO Plus, is planned for future release, and it will alert users when Pokémon are nearby.2

Whether you are reading the most recent tweet or scrolling through your Facebook news feed, it is hard to ignore that we are all spending more and more hours with a computer or smartphone in our face. Niantic found way to capitalize on this need for screen time and is getting everyone more active while doing it. Pokémon GO gets people up and walking around to explore the world before them.  As you walk through your city, your smart phone will vibrate to let you know when a Pokémon is near.

Niantic, The Pokémon Company and Nintendo have managed to tap into a mix of nostalgia, the competitive and compulsive sides of human nature, and have gotten everyone in the world talking about the app.3  What does this mean for social media platforms like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter? Although no one knows yet, it is clear is that world is changing and social media needs to change with it.

Lessons for Others

As social media becomes more widely accepted as a communications channel, an increasing number of businesses will find ways to use it; some of them will innovate.4  Niantic did just that with Pokémon GO. What will the future hold for social media? Will we live in a world which blurs the lines of reality? Only time will tell.  One thing for sure is that the web will only become “Smarter” and through advances with mobile devices, the future of the web will be in the palm our hands.


Organization: Niantic, Pokemon Go
Industry: Online Gaming
Name of Organization Contact: Unknown

Authored by: Catherine Mills

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


Uknown. “Pokémon GO Is Officially the Biggest Mobile Game in the United States, with 21…” Pokémon GO Is Officially the Biggest Mobile Game in the United States, with 21… Forbes, 16 July 2016. Web. 17 July 2016.1

Various. “Pokémon Go.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, n.d. Web. 17 July 2016.2

Spence, Ewan. “The Freemium Horror of Pokemon Go.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 16 July 2016. Web. 17 July 2016.3

Falls, Jason. “Predicting The Future of Social Media – Social Media Explorer.”Social Media Explorer Predicting The Future of Social Media Comments. Social Media Explorer, 03 Dec. 2008. Web. 17 July 2016.4