An Executive’s Guide to Pokémon


I never would have thought that I would write about Pokémon. Yet, a new craze hit the application world since 5th July. Pokémon has revived!

Yiğit Kulabaş, PhD.*

Nintendo launched its new game called PokémonGO to celebrate 20th anniversary of Pokémon. The net worth of the company rose by $9 billion just in a week after the launch. $ to be exact. The major companies of Turkey have a market value around this amount. Here are 10 things you need to know about PokémonGO to understand its value for the company and to have a common knowledge to chat with your children.

1- #PhigitalWorld: Physical world meets digital and becomes phigital. PokémonGo is a start of a new wave in phigitalization. You download the application and hit the streets. The competition is in our physical world, yet you see hiding Pokemons everywhere in the city when you look at your screen. Every time you catch one you improve your skills and earn points.

2- #GoOut: In order to level up you have tp achieve some tasks and catch particular Pokemons and there are 720 of them. It is not that easy though. You may need to wander around a cemetery or go to the seaside to find those Pokemons. For the first time a popular application actually makes people to go out and engage with nature.

3- #PowerofPenetration: Let’s cut to the point! How is it possible that such a game could trigger a $9 billion jump? It is free and you don’t even have to buy a new game console to play it. All you need is to have a smart phone and probably you already have one. Basically Nintendo doesn’t have an extra income from PokemonGo. Then what is the answer? The secret of Nintendo’s success is penetration, number of active users and the speed of how the game has become a craze. For now, it is available in USA, Australia and New Zealand and already has millions of users. In other countries Pokemon fanatics figured out ways to download the game even when it was not available. Turkey is already on the top of the list with most active users.

4- #ActiveUsers: The main reason that Nintendo’s shares surged by 25% on 11th July is the number of active users. Just in 5 days PokemonGO had the same number of active users with Twitter and it will probably leave behind the popular microblogging platform by the time you read this article. On the top of that the average use time of PokemonGo is about 43 minutes, which is more than all other popular social media platforms like Snapchat, Instagram, Messenger and Twitter.

5- #NearFuture: Another reason of this surge is that the game promises a great future. The company secured a million dollar worth income just by selling cards in the past 20 years. Soon the same strategy with PokemonGo will bring more money to Nintende. In near future PokemonGO will transform itself into an interactive platform where users can engage and compete with each other and thereby it will be even more popular.

6- #RegisteredCharacters: Nintendo has entered to the game of registered characters after Disney and Marvel. To be honest PokemonGo is not as revolutionary as it’s thought. It is an outcome of partnership with Ingress, which was already on the market for a while. They are literally the same. What makes PolemonGo more this successful is its high-valued registered characters.

7- #HeartofTrends: PokemonGo is successful at detecting the trends and find a way to integrate them to its platforms. Augmented reality, mobile transformation, smart phones come at the top of the list. Geo-caching is right in the centre of the game. Even though we haven’t heard of geo-caching till now, it was there for us to discover while it was quite popular for treasure hunt.

8- #NewHorizons: You sure remember The Matrix. It is considered as a milestone in filming world not only because of its plot but also due to its amazing filming editing. Its successors in action genre always took The Matrix as an example. PokemonGo will have the same effect like The Matrix. From now on, we will see geo-caching more often, and the games will be phigitalized.

9- #MarketingIdeas: Even though it is too soon to make such assumption, PokemonGo holds a great potential for marketing world. Yet, it contains great amount of amazing scenarios that can trigger the imagination of every marketing executive.

10- #Catch’emAll: Pokemon has the same slogan – “Gotta Catch’em All” for 20 years now. Since they have never changed the slogan over the past years, it this phrase has a reminding effect on its loyal customers, and makes them get excited. Customer focused innovation, loyalty management and brand consistency are the important elements of this success story. Nintendo catches all its loyal customers. Again and again. From their hearts.



*Yiğit Kulabaş is a businessman, academician and author. He is the CEO and founding partner of RE/Design Business. This article of him is translated from Capital. It was published in November 2016.

Comments are closed.