Many mobile app design companies struggle to determine what makes an app popular. Unfortunately, there is no right answer, though there are factors that contribute.
Pokemon Go has recently taken multiple app stores by storm. Its daily use has surpassed that of Twitter and Facebook, and it was recently named as Apple's most popular app of all time. In order to discover what makes an app popular, we'll examine qualities of Pokemon Go.
The Pokemon franchise is rich and detailed. Initially launched in 1995, Pokemon began as a pair of video games but soon encompassed collectible card games, animated series, and comic books.
Some of Pokemon Go's popularity derives from its decades-long franchise history. A generation grew up playing Pokemon games, while another watched in bewilderment. When the hit game was launched in July 2016, it surfaced in an environment where players and potential gamers knew its backstory. By capitalizing on this pop culture appeal, Pokemon Go was able to catapult its popularity significantly higher than other, lesser-known mobile titles.
Provide Innovative Experiences
Application development for mobile platforms opens up new possibilities. Apps can integrate the player's position, surroundings, motion, and field of view into experiences that are simply not possible on a laptop or desktop.
Pokemon Go transforms gaming from a solitary, indoor experience, to a gamified exploration of one's environment. Fitness is encouraged by motion tracking, and augmented reality enhances gameplay by weaving it into the player's surroundings. In-game locations are annotated with game text, thus teaching players rich details about their neighborhoods and communities.
Popular apps embrace mobile technology, enriching experiences with levels of detail that only mobile devices can provide. It isn't enough to simply provide information or flat interaction. Instead, apps must capitalize on the uniqueness of their platforms to make consumers' lives easier and more enjoyable.
Play Well With Others
Pokemon Go drives players to local businesses and works of art as part of its gameplay. Not only does this increase community knowledge and involvement, but it also creates potential new customers for nearby establishments. While businesses do not yet pay a fee for this privilege, it is not unthinkable that a future version of the game may sell the ability for businesses to be a part of the Pokemon Go world.
The most popular mobile apps are able to interact with other apps and businesses where possible. Not only does this increase awareness through cross promotion, but it also makes an app more useful and fun. If an app helps users discover a new restaurant or coffee shop, and in turn is promoted to new users at that same shop, it has acquired a powerful ingredient in the recipe for popularity.
Had Pokemon Go only used augmented reality, or leveraged the Pokemon franchise, it may not have been as popular. It is only because it has employed many strategies that it has become one of the most popular apps of all time.