Pokémon GO is the latest craze catching the attention of gaming fans worldwide. Within a few short weeks, the app hit 100M downloads and is generating roughly $10 million a day in in-app purchases. The augmented reality gaming blockbuster is setting major records and the fever to catch 'em all is at an all-time high.
It was a great surprise and a proud moment for our company when our Head of Platform and my co-author Nick Johnson was named the first person to catch all of the world's Pokmon. What started as Nick posting a comical photo acknowledging his achievement on Reddit turned into a crazy adventure that includes massive press coverage, media appearances a global trek sponsored by Marriott and Expedia to catch Pokmon.
After posting the picture of his accomplishment online, it immediately attracted the attention of PokmonGO players. The next morning the post had gone viral. Within the next few days, Johnson had been featured on numerous TV and news outlets, including Good Morning America, Rolling Stones, CNN, and more. Avid Pokmon fans flock to Nick's Snapchat to keep up with his latest adventures and to pick up tips from the pro himself. One such fan was an Uber driver that insisted on taking a selfie with Johnson to show off to his family.
Many critics question how Nick managed his personal and professional life since the game's release. His Pokmon regiment including meeting with his girlfriend after a long day of work to walk around and hunt Pokmon at night. While he lost sleep during the two weeks that he played the game, he did lose 8-10 pounds while walking an average of 8 miles per day.
However, this was just the beginning of his journey. Marriott Rewards and Expedia happily announced that they would be sponsoring Johnson with a free trip around the world. Only 145 Pokmon can be caught in the game right now - you can catch 142 Pokmon in the US, but the other remaining three Pokmon are known to be exclusive to certain continents. This trip would help him complete his global Pokdex and catch the last, region-locked Pokmon.
Johnson kicked off his world tour in Paris in search of Europe's Pokmon, Mr. Mime. Once catching the Pokmon, he headed to Hong Kong and caught the Asian region-locked Farfetch. On his last stop, he flew to Sydney to catch Kangaskhan and completed his PokmonGO journey. During his journey, he's been writing for Expedia's Viewfinder blog and sharing updates of his trip on Twitter and Snapchat. Johnson attributes a lot of his global success to the PokmonGO community because of their incredible support and help with locating the remaining Pokmon.
How was Nick able to master PokmonGO so quickly? For Nick, playing the game was just a natural extension of the work he does here at Applico. Applico is an advisory and execution firm that specializes in the platform business model. PokmonGO is a prime example of a platform. Platforms are business models that create value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups, usually consumers and producers.
PokmonGO is a platform because it brings different groups of users together and acts as an intermediary for interactions, regulating the space and promoting an exchange of value. The "producers" in PokmonGO are users who set up gyms to fight with other users' Pokmon. These producers are also individuals who set up lures to bring Pokmon to a certain location, which in turn attracts other users to the location. The "consumers" of the platform are those who engage in fights at the Pokmon gyms or go to Pokmon hotspots. Niantic serves as the regulator of the platform, setting rules and standards for the game and determining when users can level up.
Nick was able to relay his passion for platform businesses into PokmonGO. He wanted to learn more about the platform and how it operated, which he discovered on his journey to catch 'em all. This desire, combined with his childhood love for Pokmon, were the overall driving factors that helped him get to the point he's at today.
After what has probably been the craziest week of his life, Johnson is taking a victory lap and traveling to Tokyo to enjoy a well-deserved vacation. Who said being a PokmonGO Master was easy, right?