So you’ve heard about Pokemon Go, the explosively popular augmented reality mobile game. (If not, start here.) Before the game has even officially launched here, Canadians have been clamouring to play.
According to data analyst and former Torontonian Joseph Schwartz, Canada is 15th on the list of countries racing to get access to the game outside the official launch dates. Canada ranks below countries such as Spain, Indonesia, Germany, Mexico and Britain. Mr. Schwartz based this information on visitor statistics to the website apkmirror.com, which provides instructions on how to get around location restrictions to download games such as Pokemon Go.
And while the game is not yet officially available outside the United States, Australia and New Zealand, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg has already observed visitors collecting Pokemon within its halls after discovering it was designated a Pokemon Gym.
Spokeswoman Louise Waldman said the museum’s official policy is that people can continue to play Pokemon Go as long as they are not disturbing the experience of other visitors. “We’re asking players to be mindful and respectful of other visitors at the museum as they play,” she said. “Obviously, this is an emerging technology and it’s one we’re continuing to monitor in the days and the weeks ahead.”
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is not the only place suddenly dealing with some of the millions suddenly out catching Pokemon with their phones, and not everyone is excited about it. The Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., has asked visitors to stop. One man who lives in a former church discovered that it was tagged as a PokeGym, leading to dozens of people suddenly showing up at his door.
The Globe and Mail has been designated a PokeStop, a point in the Pokemon Go app where users can collect Pokeballs and other items.
Mr. Schwartz, a digital insights and content manager at SimilarWeb, said in an interview that it’s hard to say whether this initial surge in activity and interest will continue. That is because the current data on Pokemon Go are based on a few days of player activity during a prime leisure period – the weekend.
“Once we get some more days of data, we’ll be able to tell if on Monday and Tuesday or workdays whether people are continuing to use the app at the alarming high rate of 43 minutes of the day [on average],” he said.
However, Mr. Schwartz also said the data collected so far showed Pokemon Go’s popularity is very different compared with other popular mobile apps such as Slither.io and Clash Royale. “It took them about two or three weeks to get to 2 per cent of the Android population in the United States,” he said, “whereas Pokemon Go got to 7 per cent within four days. Even compared to popular games, it surpassed every standard.”
Other developments in the craze:
-The nature of the Pokemon Go app requires users to keep it open for extended periods of time. This means that diehard users will see a significant drain on their battery life, skyrocketing data costs and, in many cases, hours of extra exercise.
-The current popularity of Pokemon Go is being compared to Tinder and adult websites.
-A website offering Pokewalkers for hire is presumed to be fake. However, the Gizmodo tech blog reports that there have been real advertisements posted online offering Pokemon Go-specific car rides in multiple U.S. cities.
-Game developer Niantic Inc. says it is no longer requests full access to users’ Google accounts when used to sign up for the game, only the basic profile information (someone’s user ID and e-mail address).