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Pokémon Go – Augmenting Reality With Physical Locations

While Pokémon Go’s viral success is driven by the twin emotions of nostalgia and attachment, the impact of Augmented Reality on consumers may to be make purchasing decisions less emotional and more rational.

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By Jeffrey Henning

Pokémon Go has rapidly become the most popular Augmented Reality (AR) game ever. Already, it has more daily users than Twitter and consumes more of users’ time than Facebook.

Rather than travel in a virtual world within the video game, players must walk around the real world to find and collect Pokémon. Pokémon Go augments reality by superimposing Pokémon over physical locations:

Pokémon Go has already changed the exercise habits of millions. How might Augmented Reality in general change consumer habits?

Driving store selection by reviews rather than by brand awareness.

Visiting my father-in-law in Florida, I needed to pick up some pool supplies for him. Google Maps augmented my reality by showing me nearby stores along with their Yelp ratings. I used that information to pick the store I shopped at, selecting a local chain that I had never heard of rather than the national chain. The Yelp app in fact has offered an augmented reality view since 2010 (it’s most useful in urban areas):

Providing more information, and promotions, at the retail shelf.

The app Blippar provides more information about objects (hold the camera up to a starfish, for instance, to learn facts about it) and products. Besides reviews, the app offers product usage tips and product line information; personalized promotions are on the roadmap.

Envisioning purchases in context.

The ultimate type of product information is what your world will look like after you’ve bought and installed a product. You’ve probably heard about apps that show you what a new piece of furniture will look like in your living room:


But how about visualizing what your next tattoo will look like before it’s inked?

Reading automatic translations of foreign languages.

The Google Translate app will translate text picked up directly from the camera. You thought it was hard to convince your high school student to study a foreign language before?! Now consumers you didn’t even target will be able to read product information:

Part of the impact on research will be that researchers will want to know what AR apps are being used, and marketers will want to know how to influence the information provided by such apps.

For Augmented Reality will offer consumers ready access to ever more information, both objective and subjective. While Pokémon Go’s viral success is driven by the twin emotions of nostalgia and attachment, the impact of Augmented Reality on consumers may to be make purchasing decisions less emotional and more rational.

More articles to read:

  1. Pokémon Go: Gamification Lessons For Research – GreenBook
  2. Pokémon Go, explained in fewer than 400 words – Vox
  3. Survey Gives First Systematic Study of Pokémon Go Players – MFour
  4. Pokémon Go’s Success Could be Short-Lived – Euromonitor
  5. Where Will Pokémon Go Take Market Research? – Market Strategies
  6. Pokémon Go will Make You Crave Augmented Reality – The New Yorker
  7. The 17 Remaining Pokémon Go Headlines – The Awl

Can’t catch ‘em all.

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