The End is Here

Never before, in the duration of this course, have I ever been so thankful to be done with a game. I admit that my boredom with Pokemon GO is based on my lack of nostalgia with the Pokemon franchise. The rest of the boredom is based on the lack of excitement offered in playing the game. The design is overly simplified with no indication of how to operate the app. Add in the elements of gamificiation that are within the game, and I am one frustrated player.

One new design feature that I encountered in the game was the integration of new style features for the avatar. While the avatars available are not very representative, the added features allow the avatars to become even more customizable. But wait! To make the avatar look anything like an actual person, you have to pay! Pretty soon, the app itself will not be free.

All of this frustration reminded me of my internship supervisor this summer. She became very frustrated with the concept of Pokemon GO and the players as she has been a dedicated Ingress player for a few years. As I was reminded of this, I decided that when I deleted the app on my phone when I was done playing, I would try Ingress for a small portion of time to compare the ‘original’ format with the ‘new’ format. And in comparison, Ingress is AWESOME! The design, the tutorials, the explanation of the game narrative! In comparison to a Pokestop, the Ingress app walks you through your first deployment of a resonator so that you don’t walk through the app blindly. And with this new experience with the ‘original’ app, I have to ask how much pressure Niantic was under to produce Pokemon GO by a certain deadline. With the fanbase of Pokemon being much larger than an app like Ingress, there must have been some pressure to release the game by a certain date. But why was the design simplified so much? Were the creators of Pokemon GO at Niantic so driven by the possibility of profit from the app that they completely threw out any element of meticulous workmanship in the design of the game? I don’t know, but I think I may keep playing Ingress for a bit longer…

Hello Gamification!

I had been hoping to complete my time playing Pokemon GO without encountering any blatant forms of gamification, because I knew that it would add to my frustration with the game. I was getting more confident in what little I could do with the app. I was catching Pokemon and gaining more experience by swirling my finger over the Pokeball. I was finding new Pokemon as I played at different points in town. And then my downfall occurred.

As I was playing today, I happened upon a new Pokemon that I did not have in my Pokedex. I immediately tried to catch it when the app told me that I was out of Pokeballs and needed to purchase more. At this point in playing, I had not seen any indication of the amount of Pokeballs that I possessed or used. Then suddenly, I am being told that to even try to catch any more Pokemon, I needed to pay a dollar to get another 100 Pokeballs. I will admit (as I have in class already) that I am cheap. I don’t like additional purchases that are not on essential items. I am not a fan of freemiums, subscription services, or in-app purchases. So this notification just irked me. So much so that I immediately closed my app and did not try to open it again for a few hours. From the company’s side, I see that benefit in making the purchase so small. If the player is really into the game and wants to continue, why not spend a dollar? From the player’s perspective, I was quite confused. I knew there was the possibility of in-app purchases, but with no indicator as to when those in-app purchases would occur and limit my playing, I felt that I fell into the company’s trap. And if I wasn’t disenchanted with the game (or cheap), I wouldn’t mind paying the extra dollar every time that I need more Pokeballs.

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