July 2016 resembled an episode of Black Mirror: millions of people around the world using their smartphones to chase after animated characters in parks, cities and Downing Street. The Pokémon Go craze was all-consuming – to the extent that people were hit by cars, murdered and embroiled in fistfights over Snorlax while playing the game. Motorway message signs in Florida even had to remind drivers that “Pokémon Go is a no-go while driving”. Still, despite the sensationalised horror stories, the free AR app was great fun while it lasted. But whatever happened to Pokémon Go?
The simple answer is that Pokémon Go never went away. Although it has long since been banished from most of our phones, the game is still available to download and new content is added on a regular basis.
Nevertheless, there’s a lingering sense of “how the mighty has fallen” after the initial popularity last year. For example, a Google Trends search shows the dramatic plummet in interest in the game, with the word “flatline” springing to mind…
But, before you break down in tears at the thought of millions of hopeful Pokémon frozen in time, waiting to be caught and loved, never fear: against all odds, millions of people still play the game (after a year, it had 65 million monthly active users).
To keep up with demand, Pokémon Go‘s developer Niantic has recently teased that brand new, shiny Pokémon will be released over the Christmas period.
For example, rumours abound that the ice Pokémon Delibird is soon to be immortalised in AR – and, cleverly, may spawn more frequently in patches of ice and snow. So, when your train to work has just been cancelled for the third day running and you’ve just split your trousers by falling over on a patch of black ice, console yourself with thoughts of Delibird.
Even if this third generation of creatures doesn’t grab you, it’s still worth revisiting Pokémon Go. After all, it’s a proven way to work off the mince pies and Baileys on Boxing Day, and surely anything is better than playing Monopoly?
Read this next: AR vs VR: What’s the difference?