How’s everyone doing today? We’ve managed to make it through to another Wednesday and get to turn the corner toward the weekend now! All this Pokemon Go! talk is still blowing up my Facebook feed, as I am sure it is with all of you as well. Maybe not. It’s hard to say for sure. Today I wanted to talk about fads a little bit, in the context of Pokemon Go!
But Cassady! We’re sick of hearing about Pokemon! Too bad it’s my blog. Anyways, fads are something that often come and go. Seriously. I can name a ton. Beenie Babies are the most well known that I can think of, but moonshoes, various movies, the Friday song, and now Pokemon Go! are all fads. The “problem” with fads is that they pass. And certainly, everyone remembers them—I don’t know if I have met anyone who existed in the era of the Beenie Baby that doesn’t know what they are. Yet they simply don’t exist anymore.
The one major exception to this rule that I can think of is competitive card games—really any form of gaming in which there are few substitutes and it regularly changes. You can read about this a bit here, but the most well known example of a fad from the 90’s that has persisted throughout good and bad times is Magic: the Gathering. Effectively, what Magic did was create a system to keep players into the game called a rotation—which basically means that there are certain points where cards are no longer tournament legal. In doing this, it forces more players to buy the new cards, and rewards them for doing so by allowing them to play in tournaments more. New cards, of course, are also a reward to people because they are simply that: new.
They then coupled this with a competitive scene in order to make a goal for players. Professional Magicians, as it were, not only became popular within their community, but also were effectively being paid to play this game. Ok, so before I sound like a total nerd, I just wanted to preface this with an example of success, and then relate it to how to apply it elsewhere. Other examples that I can think of that are similar to this are League of Legends, though it is unclear if any game will have the same kind of staying power (Magic is over 20 years old at this point).
So to apply this to Pokemon Go!, there needs to be more competition and more rewards. Currently, to my knowledge, there are no leaderboards, and there are no real rewards for it. Certainly, Pokemon is a successful chain, but unless Nintendo want to reinvent the wheel every couple years for their iOS game (like they have for their video games), they should consider finding a way to make the game something that people feel rewarded for playing in more than just an emotional way. Have their be a real life Elite Four and Champion that are paid. Have people that can schedule challenges. Make it a thing that a very lower percentage of players can do, but that everyone feels like they can achieve if they work hard enough. Whether that mean more bike rides or not. That’s the key to succeeding as more than just a fad.