SEOUL, Jan. 25 (Korea Bizwire) – It is long overdue.
Six months after its global launch, Niantic’s Pokémon Go has finally come to South Korea.
The augmented reality game kicked off with a good start. Local videogame stocks soared Tuesday over market anticipation, and social networking services were rampant with thrills and excitement. App analytics company WiseApp estimated 2.83 million South Koreans to have downloaded the app on its release day via the Google Play Store alone.
Whether Pokémon Go will bring about a similar frenzy as it did overseas is still uncertain, but if it does, industry watchers expect the game to help promote consumption for a number of local businesses.
Among the first to see an increase in demand are companies making portable batteries.
Pokémon Go is a battery drainer. It requires GPS, mobile data (or wireless internet), and the camera for a full AR experience, not to mention the power to display the complex graphics, which together would kill a smartphone battery in no time.
Considering the fact that players must venture out to different locations to hunt the virtual creatures, a portable smartphone battery is essential.
In fact, market research in the U.S., Japan, and Australia has shown that portable battery sales doubled, or even tripled, after the game’s release in July of last year, while similar demand was observed in Sokcho, a South Korean city, which was inundated with Pokémon hunters last year when a GPS glitch allowed the game to be played, albeit with limited functionality.
Businesses including restaurants, cafés, and bars, could be the next to benefit if the game goes viral.
One of the ways food businesses can attract customers is by using what is called “Lure Modules” that attract Pokémon to their locale for a certain period of time, which in turn attract customers trying to “Catch’em All”. The method has long been adopted by food businesses in countries that previously launched the game, with reasonable success, according to industry watchers.
Major landmarks such as shopping complexes and book stores designated as “PokéStops”, which are places to restock on gaming items, or “Gyms”, to battle one’s Pokémon with those of other players, are hoping to see more visitors as well in the coming days, with expectations of a boost in consumption in the surrounding areas.
Meanwhile, officials expect the game’s success to help the local videogame industry, and enthusiasts, to seek more diversity.
“It’s true that domestic mobile gaming is heavily biased towards RPGs,” an industry official said. “If Pokémon Go can prove the potential of location-based games, which promote interaction between people and real environments, it will lead to more development efforts for similar types of entertainment.”
By Joseph Shin (firstname.lastname@example.org)