It took John Hanke 20 years to create Pokemon Go, so you could call it a labour of love.
You may have read the epic Facebook post by Roger James Hamilton, describing the ten times Hanke levelled up in his lifetime to reach the ultimate. but here’s just a small snippet:
This week, the Pokémon Go app has broken all records, with 10 million+ downloads in the first week, exceeding Twitter in daily active users, and with higher average user time than Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram & WhatsApp.
From where the name of his company Niantic came from, to how he helped create Google Earth, check it out HERE.
TIME, however, took it one step further and actually had a chat to Hanke about his creation – and just where his mind is at at the moment. Some of that interview:
TIME: With all the hullabaloo over this thing, I imagine you’re a little world weary at this point.
Hanke: You know, it’s been this adrenaline fueled thing for the past week. I think we are a little weary, but also just can’t believe how amazing it as at the same time. No complaints.
Aside from some of the usual sorts of issues we see with any online game at launch, would you say things are playing out more or less as expected?
We planned for success, and we provisioned our infrastructure for it. But to be honest, we’ve been overwhelmed by the level of interest, by the sheer number of people who want to play and the amount of time they want to play. It definitely surprised us. We thought it would be popular. I mean we didn’t go into it thinking people wouldn’t be excited by it.
But it’s been interesting, this loop of people discovering it, hearing about it through media or social media, playing the game and then bumping into other people playing the game, and then sharing their experiences around that through social media. It’s led to this viral explosion of interest. From our point of view, it’s fantastic. We’re just struggling to keep the infrastructure in place to keep absorbing the number of people who want to play it.
What do you think about augmented reality having this much impact on real world behavior?
I think there have always been things that people have done socially together. There were bowling clubs, there were softball leagues, there were Lions Clubs. There are all these real world organizations that existed as things people could do together in the community outside of the house. I think a lot of those have atrophied in the digital era.
It’s true, people spend more time indoors, they tend to know their neighbors less, some of those traditional activities have been supplanted by talking to people on Facebook or email, playing video games and watching movies on our big screen TVs. I think it’s really awesome that digital technology has evolved to the point that now we can use it, because it’s mobile, and we can build applications like Pokémon Go that can go and fill some of that void, some of these spaces that have been evacuated.
The full interview goes into detail about the future plans of Niantic and the potential of AR, from commerce, entertainment and even social interactions.
It’s fantastic to see just where a small idea can land you, stemming from passion and heavy personal interest. Check out the rest of the interview HERE.
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