The reason they call something a "craze" is because it tends to make people crazy--and Pokemon Go has certainly been doing just that. A week ago, two men walked off the edge of a cliff, falling up to 90 feet, while hunting Pokemon. (They were hurt but not killed.) One young Australian man actually quit his job so as to travel the country hunting Pokemon (he's caught 700 so far). 

You may think these people are outliers, but a new survey by the personal finance site GOBankingRates reveals just how crazy most players are for the game. (In case you don't know, Pokemon Go is a new app from Nintendo that uses augmented reality and GPS. Players must capture all the species of virtual animated monsters called Pokemon dispersed at various real-world locations.)

GOBankingRates' survey asked more than a hundred Pokemon Go players what they would trade for the chance to play the game and various Poke perks. In surprising evidence of the deeply addictive powers of the game, 43 percent said they would prefer to take one day off immediately to play Pokemon Go than get two extra vacation days next year.

31 percent would give up $100 to catch a rare Pokemon.

Not only would many Poke players trade hunting Pokemon for extra time off, many would give up cold hard cash to succeed at the game. In the survey 31 percent of respondents said they would choose to catch a rare 1,000 CP (combat power) Mew. (I'm wondering: Would it still be fun to catch the Mew if you knew you were going to get it as a result of this trade?)

47 percent would trade $20 for an unlimited Lure Model.

A Lure Model attracts Pokemon to a specific location and costs 99 cents per half hour. Almost half the respondents said they'd rather have one at home all the time for a month than get a $20 discount off their phone bill. Which is interesting since without a smartphone, they couldn't play the game at all.

This survey is just one measure of how compelling Pokemon Go is. But it's also a measure of immediacy bias. Immediacy bias is the human tendency to value instant gratification over future benefits. It's the reason we roll over and go back to sleep for that extra half hour that will make us late for work, or why we go out for a beer instead of finishing that project we know is due tomorrow. 

Pokemon Go is all instant gratification, and it seems like something we just have to have. At least until the next craze comes along.

Published on: Jul 20, 2016
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