Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm in just a matter of days. This augmented reality video games has made people going crazy, both in a good way and bad. This is purely accidental, of course, as gamers without even realizing it are going outside for once to catch elusive Pokémons. Health experts say this is an encouraging trend in a type of technology that is famous for promoting a sedentary lifestyle. Moreover, fitness tracker company Jawbone released significant stats to support these claims.
The game was launched in North America on 6th July, where users navigate around their environment to try and “catch” virtual Pokémon characters. The game uses augmented reality to show a Pokémon when you use your smartphone camera’s viewfinder. Different types of Pokémons appear in different locations, so players need to explore the world around them to catch different characters.
Jawbone said in an email that people in the US who use its UP band and played Pokémon Go got an average of 62.5% more steps the weekend the game launched compared to an average weekend. According to Jawbone’s data, users who mentioned Pokémon Go averaged 6,590 steps the weekend of June 4, 6,444 steps the weekend of June 11, 7,395 steps the weekend of June 18, 6,566 steps the weekend of June 25 and 6,063 the weekend of July 4. But during the weekend the game launched, weekend of 9th July, users’ steps averaged at 10,936.
A Jawbone spokesperson said in an email, “UP users can comment on their own as well as their friends’ activity, sleep stats, nutrition, etc in the UP dashboard. So we were able to see users were commenting that they’d been playing Pokémon Go because they had gotten an unusually large number of steps over the weekend.”
These small bursts of healthy activity are not just good for the physical development of users but also highly important for mental health. Experts say it is long tested that exercise helps with controlling depression and managing mood disorders. However, many patients diagnosed with depression do not have the resilience to exercise, rather remain reclusive and secluded from society. Pokémon Go is encouraging people to step outside into the world to get better familiarized with their surroundings and interact with fellow players. Moreover, it’s been proven that exercise also reduces stress and relieves tension.
However, it is to be noted that Pokémon Go does have its fair share of criticism, mainly due to a lack of privacy, security and because it’s so damn addictive. Many players have reported leg sores, cramps, getting lost, and even tripping over stuff. People have turned into mindless zombies by this “virus”, constantly holding on to their phones while forgetting about their responsibilities at work and office. On the other hand, it’s also brought a lot of people in the gaming community together, giving some hope of unity in these dark times. Moreover, people have even reported to find the love of their lives playing this game. What could be more inspiring then that? So “Go” out and play this weird yet wonderful game, pun intended.