Pokémon Go, the long-lasting mobile craze that captured everybody’s hearts in 2016, seemingly everywhere after few days of being released. Parks got swarmed for people trying to catch imaginative characters and items. Factors leading to its smashing success – social engagement, the most critical source of joy in the game that it cultivated, and second, the evoked nostalgia to connect people together.
Pokémon Go has become a viral phenomenon as it makes use of social influence which social groups (deliberately or unintentionally) exerts pressure on others and affects their behaviors. Once the game was released, it soon became a social epidemic by word of mouth. You may have heard of it from your friends or simply seeing people wander around to catch virtual characters. Days after, most of the people around were immersed in “gotta catch ‘em all”, including friends, colleagues and neighbors, finally you may get interested in this game. Then, a lot of people were conforming within social groups, or more specifically, herd mentality. They started playing because everyone else is playing, they do not want to behave differently. If you do not conform, you will probably miss out on something desirable and being left out. Despite no one force you, you are still desire to follow what others do as this behavior is recognized by group members and be able to share common topic: strive towards similar purposes (collecting characters), afford a sense of belongings and connectedness.
Nostalgia also played a crucial role in making Pokémon Go inexplicable popular, it is more of a catalyst for bringing people together. Pokémon had been a part of most people’s childhoods, its resurgence evoked a sense of nostalgia and feeling of being child again. Even for those who did not play the game would have heard of it before. Nostalgia reminds people of the fearless, unrestrained past time, catching characters popping up in the street makes people feel like a kid. It is a childhood memory of people in this era, its pre-existence had helped people adopt the game easily and became leisure-time topic to talk with (e.g. their favorite character). Pokémon did not just bring contentment to players but also spark up conversation between players and boost social interaction.
To conclude, Pokémon Go quickly became a global phenomenon for players of all ages as it successfully leveraged the power of social influence and nostalgia that are intangibly everywhere and cannot be avoided.
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