September 19, 2016

Pokémon Go becomes Pokémon gone


By Kendall Rabeneck–

All summer, U of L experienced unusually high foot traffic due to the popular app, Pokémon Go. Campus consisted of Pokéstops and gyms which allowed players to stock on items to fuel their addiction.

Less than eight weeks later the game debuted, the popularity of  the Pokémon Go app has steeply declined.

While the app seems dead, select students still hold on to the app’s potential for entertainment between classes. Senior Marshall Ferguson plays the augmented reality game.

“Over the summer if you saw anyone on campus, you knew exactly what there were doing. Now that classes started, the people blend in,” Ferguson said.

“Everyone stares at their phones, so it is harder to pick up on them.

”Gamers can still be spotted catching Pokémon when they stop randomly in their route or choose not to cross the road right away. Individuals can also be spotted near Pokemon gyms like the statue by the business school.

Before declining, the game was thought to greatly impact the traditional atmosphere of campus. Andre Rochet, a junior who adapted later to the trend, expected campus culture to be dramatically changed from pervious years. “Honestly it was a surprise to play it on campus.” Rochet said, “I thought it would be popping and now people barely play.”

Most individuals no longer hold the app as a priority. “I mainly leave my phone in my pocket, so I can get the points,” Ferguson said. “I am just not willing to run into people to play the game.”

The peak of popularity surrounding Pokémon Go occurred during an incomplete version of the game. Characteristics such as trading, battling, legendary Pokémon and a proper tracking system have yet to reach the consumer.

The app continues to fight for a position in the top ten gaming apps. Recently, developers decided to push the concept further to keep players interested.

On Sept. 8, the Pokémon Company confirmed that Pokémon Go Plus will launch in certain countries starting Sept. 16. The change will allow gamers to use the game without the app open. Niantic also announced the Apple Watch will contain an app alongside the game.

The potential for Pokémon Go to storm U of L’s campus remains a reality. Once the app becomes the full version, people could return for refined gameplay.

“The game has a lot of fixing before people would come back and play again. If they can fix these, the game would be fantastic again,” Rochet said.

A resurgence in Pokémon Go’s popularity during the school year will be drastically different from the summer. Students playing behavior could affect their own and other students’ college experience.

“Traffic around the university would be worst,” Ferguson said. “The gyms would be a huge choke point, where walking to class would be difficult. We already have to deal enough with skaters and cyclers.”

The app’s second start might also spark the exercise and social aspect the game was founded on.

“Campus would be awesome. Lures would be everywhere,” Rochet said. “People would be enjoying the app with rare Pokémon on campus. People would interact on campus now, instead of us being lone wolves.”

Still in the early stage of the game, it will be up to Pokémon Company and Niantic to renew the image of their app. The initial concept of the game has the diehard fan base patiently waiting on the game’s return to main stream culture. Trends will decide if students catch them all once more.

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