Pokémon Go has already become one of the most successful mobile video games ever and one that is able to inspire players across the generational divide. Older players may know the Pokémon figures from their childhood Game Boys, anime or card collecting games while younger players are experiencing it as something current through Nintendo 3DS, Netflix and even “Pokémon Go”. Prof. Dr. Claus-Peter H. Ernst, an expert in media usage at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS), Germany, conducted an empirical study over the past year on the factors that make the Pokémon games so successful. The study, “Why People Play Pokémon: The Role of Perceived Belonging”, is one of the first scientific studies worldwide to take a closer look at the “Pokémon” phenomenon. The results were presented to a specialist audience at Americas Conference on Information Systems 2015 and the associated research article was published as part of the accompanying conference transcript.
The latest game from the Pokémon series reached millions of users in just days. Ernst attributes this massive success to a number of factors: “The latest game in the series enables players to make a long-awaited dream come true, namely to go for the first time on their very own Pokémon journey. While the younger players primarily enjoy the fun and the competition, the older players are simultaneously indulging in the nostalgia of it all. On top of that is the perceived technological leap being made through the use of augmented reality. For younger people who have never experienced the black-and-white Game Boy era, and who are used to colorful, high-definition video game entertainment, this “wow” factor is secondary. For older players these new technological possibilities aren’t necessarily a given and are indeed reason enough to get enthusiastically involved once again in the Pokémon world. Ultimately, social factors are also part of the current phenomenon. Players meet each other at random in the real world while trying to catch Pokémon, or they plan meetings to take over different arenas. This brings the common experience and the action from the Internet back to reality where people with the same interests are brought closer to one another.”
Professor Ernst teaches and does research in media usage at the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences where one of his areas of focus is the success of video games. Together with Alexander Ernst he published an empirical study last year on what makes the Pokémon video games such a success and presented the findings of the study to an intrigued crowd of specialists at the Americas Conference on Information Systems 2015.
For more information on Prof. Dr. Claus-Peter H. Ernst and his research topics go to: https://www.frankfurt-university.de/?id=12862