Pokemon GO- Doing Augmented Reality right and the follow through!

Pokemon Go

Pokemon Go


The industry as whole is always hunting for technologies that can create value on a general scale. In recent times, AR and VR have been tested by a number of industries. While VR undoubtedly has got more engagement quotient, a myriad of entry barriers is still preventing it from wide-spread usage. On the other hand, AR does not face as many barriers as VR does. And this had been recently proved by the success of Pokemon GO. All you need is a smartphone and an app to build something successful with AR.

I have already written about on Augmented Reality and its natural affinity towards certain industries. There are a few industries that can benefit a lot more from Augmented Reality than other industries. And games happen to be one of those. I would like to point out the factors that I’ve already listed on the other blog.

  1. Lower barriers to entry. A solid mobile app is all you need
  2. Wider applicability as compared to VR
  3. AR brings in fun and curious visual elements, makes it optimal for ads, games etc.
  4. High applicability in engineering and other disciplines within the Education Industry
  5. A lot of potential in vehicular navigation, city stroll etc.
  6. Can be bundled with Toys, Cards, and Books. Applicable in entertainment and marketing

 We have already seen how Yelp has used AR to leverage its business model and discussed the success of Ingress as well. The makers clearly understand the potential and do’s and don ts of AR. In fact, Pokemon Go is conceptually similar to ingress. Where it makes the differentiation is the theme. 

While Ingress gravitated more serious gamers towards it, Pokemon Go appeals to everybody. Pokemon is a classic hence the characters are already known which helped the game become a success. Pokemon go is making people leave their couch and go outside to hunt for Pokemon–something that has not been achieved by other games till date. As a marketer, you would love this intensity of engagement.


You can miss leg day only when you play Pokemon Go

You can miss leg day only when you play Pokemon Go


This is one of the biggest advantages of AR that developers are exploiting. Agreed, it takes some effort to get your phone out and look for an augmented character– but when done right, these barriers simply dissolve. 

Irrespective of the app category, the principles behind making a great AR app remains the same. What ultimately matters is your ability to understand if your business model can be complemented by AR or not and that your idea touches any of the points given above.

As far as a game such as Pokemon Go is concerned, it is a standalone piece of entertainment that exploits many of these factors related to AR such as low barriers to entry, entertaining animations etc.

Brace Yourself, the clones are coming

Games have been going a little dull in the app store for a while now. But not anymore.

A lot of game requests are popping up for Pokemon Go clones already. This is quite normal and many of them may succeed as well. Hunting for characters or hidden secrets in an AR game is nothing new. If you chart out the idea with significant and engaging differentiation you can hit create a gold rush as well. I can think of one right now. Let me give it to you.


You can allow people to search for special milestones across cities and give them points. Put some networking and collaboration in, and you are set for a great AR game that could very well fall in education instead of games–or may fall in both. Now, you may think of a number of variations upon that. You can also think of a treasure hunt where the treasures boomerang between locations and the app notifies them just like Pokemon does.  


As far as Pokemon Go is concerned, there is not much to the app. Most of the calculations are going on in the server itself. The server runs the math to set characters on specific coordinates according to a specified algorithm. The moment a character is caught, it is reflected in the servers too.

If you are attempting to build an AR game such as Pokemon Go, you may want to look at some fundamental stats here.

One of which is a staggering DAU of 25 million users. 25 million users may generate a lot of requests. Even if we go by 4 requests a day (which is far less), we will end up with 100m requests. 100m requests in 24 hours mean handling more than 1000 requests per second.

We would advise you to start with a scale of 5000-10000 concurrent users at max. In fact, it is better that you start with no more than 2000. For that, you may go for an SQL database in the beginning. If you go big by including some active social feature in your app, you may switch to a NoSQL configuration eventually. NoSQL takes care of latency better. You need an ELB to balance and distribute the load. 10k users may also need a slave database in addition to the normal RDS you acquire in your configuration. The ELB running along with Auto Scaling can check availability issues for your Augmented Reality app/game.

Possibilities of making a successful AR game is high. A lot of things can be conceptualized around AR that can be highly engaging. Even if you are making an app instead of a game, AR can reward you in a number of ways. For that to happen, understand that your AR app should compliment your business model and not the other way around. For games, however, the rules are less specific or pronounced.  

Arup Dey

Arup Dey

I am passionate about Games, Content Marketing, NLE apps and Videos. In my free time I Read, Eat and Code. I see life around me as interconnected subsets of small events. Helps me learn a lot!