Despite what the headlines will tell you, Pokemon Go is not the devil incarnate, drawing millennials into car accidents and off of cliffs. In fact, I’m going to argue in this article that it has done way more good than bad, and it’s only been out for less than a month.
It brings the nerds out of their lairs
The number one criticism that gamers and nerds get is that they spend all day locked up inside. Pokemon Go is designed in the exact opposite way. You need to be walking around in order to get Pokemon or to get to Pokestops or gyms. You can get Pokemon if you remain stationary, but its a greatly slower rate than if you were walking around. Even if you use incense, its 5x more effective if you’re moving. Also, if you get an egg, the only way to hatch it is to put it in an incubator and walk the designated distance (2, 5, or 10 km). So now millennials are getting exercise! Take that, rising levels of obesity in North America!
It’s enabling people to make the world a better place
Besides increasing people wanting to walk and bike places rather than driving, I’ve noticed the world’s Pokemon trainers really stepping up and using their increased travel to use. In many communities, people are organizing walks where you go with local trainers to hunt Pokemon but also bring a garbage bag and pick up litter around the city. How clever is that? There is also an app called Charity Miles that tracks your location and donates money based on how far you walk or run. You can choose from a multitude of big charities. It’s also bringing attention to other local issues, such as stray animals or graffiti. There are a million ways to utilise the increased walking to make the world a better place, and these are just some of them.
It unites people together
If you didn’t believe that gamers are more social than non-gamers, this should convince you. People have been talking all over the internet and in real life about playing the game. Not only are they exchanging Pokedex data or comparing medals, but since the game has not nearly enough explanation in it, there has been a lot of sharing information. People with computer programming knowledge have been scouring the source code, more adventurous people have been experimenting with different tactics in real life, and studious types have been researching information from the other games and tv show to find clues. Local clubs and meetings have sprung up for this exact reason. Not only is this forging friendship and causing small talk between strangers at Pokestops that have lures, but its flexing our creative and intellectual minds. There is also an exclusive chat app that brings local trainers together called GoChat.
Some myths debunked
It encourages distracted driving: Besides the fact that there is an explicit warning when you open the app to pay attention to your surroundings, but the nature of the app makes it really hard to use without stopping your vehicle. You can only use Pokestops and Gyms if you are within a certain distance, and while you can use a Pokestop in under a second, if you go flying by a gym or wild Pokemon, its gone. Also, if people don’t respect the law surrounding distracted driving, they would probably still be using their phone while driving.
Millennials are even more focused on their phones: Obviously a phone app does encourage more use of your phone, but it doesn’t require you walk around with your phone glued to your eyes. You need to make sure your phone screen is on (no locked or timed out), but your phone should vibrate if a Pokemon is near by. That means you can hold your phone away from your hand, and possibly put it in your pocket and not miss out on any of those monsters.
This app encourages people to pollute the world: Whether it’s smoking, litter, or loud noises, my response is the same as the driving. If these people are being assholes while playing Pokemon Go, they would have been assholes while not playing Pokemon Go. It’s not like the app requires you to be smoking to catch a Koffing or throw trash on the ground to catch Trubbish (TIL there is a trash bag Pokemon).