Walking Dead is the new Pokemon
There was a time when kids were told to go outside instead of playing games, slouched on living room floors and tethered to TVs. The mobile revolution flipped that paradigm and gaming is now anywhere, any time.
Niantic, the studio behind Ingress and Pokemon Go, live by a mission of encouraging players to discover their communities, and the process, build them. While the fan run Ingress events of thousands have flown under the mainstream media's attention, it wasn't until Pokemon Go brought the rabid masses out into the streets that this mobile genre garnered interest.
As augmented reality hogged most of the spotlight, it was actually the nostalgia of a generation grown up on an emotional narrative and now with the means via expensive devices that boosted the numbers. Attend any lunchtime raid, and it is thirty-somethings tapping away on multiple devices. Pokemon Go isn't going away time soon – Nintendo's marketing machine has made sure of that.
The recent San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) showcased a few new copycats who've also doubled-down on beloved franchises. An upcoming Ghostbusters beta features cartoonish sprites, monster collecting and evolution, and a seemingly complex capture system. Pokemon Go's simplified mechanism has an edge here on an action that is performed at ad nauseum each day.
The Walking Dead launched its game, Our World, and provides an all-together different experience, one with a remarkably more interactive cadence and gaming loop. Together with its richer Google Maps interface, it has managed to draw my attention away from Pokemon Go in the past few days – a feat not many other mobile games have achieved.
It is here that I would recommend Ingress take note. With very few polished games in this genre, Pokemon Go is already feeling dated in visual presentation, interaction, and mechanics. That said, with full confidence, I am sure Ingress have many tricks up their sleeves for grander reveals on upcoming IPs – Harry Potter, here we come!