There’s no doubt Pokémon Go has become a global phenomenon. According to Alex Seryi, “58% of American adult Smartphone users have their phones powered with Android. 5.9% from them have already installed Pokémon Go. The wide majority of them play the game on a daily basis. That’s 5.25 million people who are walking all over the United States in search of Pikachus…” in his recent LinkedIn article. And yet Niantic and The Pokémon Company were grossly unprepared for the amount of early adopters. The server meltdowns that nearly crippled the game in its first few days and still sometimes plague trainers worldwide today are infamous. The question is why?
Nintendo = The Titanic
Nintendo has been on the decline, posting losses and trying to compete with other large tech/game companies like SONY for years. As recently as last year, the company “posted an operating loss of $92.5 billion…” on one of its quarters, according to this LinkedIn article. Their attempts to market the Wii, and subsequent WiiU, as competitors for Xbox and PlayStation simply fell flat. And although Nintendo has a huge powerhouse in its original games like Mario Kart, they tried much too hard to create brand new games while leaving their original games to flounder.
Departing from revamping their old games left their original player-base unhappy with the new “cutesy” games and left a major hole for other gaming companies to fill with games that appealed to the now-adult players. For the games they did revamp (like all the new generations of Pokémon), many of the original players became dissatisfied with how much the newer versions departed from the originals and the perceived lack of creativity in the new Pokémon that were introduced with each new version. (I can’t be the only person who thinks Ice Cream is not a good choice for a new Pokémon.)
Nintendo appeared to be all but lost. Predictors in the gaming industry believed it would continue to decline until it finally sank like the great Titanic. It’s no wonder Niantic’s servers weren’t prepared for the massive adoption of their game – they expected the lukewarm response they’d been getting for years.
…But a Safe Titanic
Just when it seemed Nintendo was doomed to finally fail, Pokémon Go was born. Nintendo finally listened to what its players had been saying all along: we want the great games of the past! By bringing the original Pokémon game into the future and revamping it to meet today’s technology, not only has the company shocked life back into its market but its stock market shares have skyrocketed. Kids and adults alike are excited about Pokémon again and can be seen in nearly every city with their heads down as they search for that next great catch. Although it can’t be said whether Pokémon Go has saved the company from sinking completely, this Titanic isn’t going down for now.