The long awaited augmented reality mobile game Pokémon Go, based on the long running video game franchise, was released in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand late last week. The game allows players to find and capture Pokémon, like the famous Pikachu, in the real world as they walk around streets and parks throughout their cities.
While the game is an entertaining diversion, it serves as a catalyst for something greater. With Pokémon Go, a beautiful emergent order of community has already started. Neighbors and strangers alike come together to track down another Pokémon, or team up to take down a rival Pokémon gym. The free-to-play game simultaneously provides exercise (as players must walk to catch anything), amusement, community, and friendship.
This is partially by design. Archit Bhargava (an employee Niantic, Inc, the game’s developer) says “It’s all about getting people moving, getting them exploring the world around them…We want players to have those real-world experiences either with people they know or people they meet because of the game.” The game provides the opportunity for building social institutions, but it’s the actions of the individuals in the game that build it, forming a beautiful spontaneous order “of human action, not human design.” (more…)