I am the first to admit that this whole Pokémon Go thing has thrown me for a bit of a loop. I mean sorry whut Pikachu and Charmander had their glory days when I was 10-years-old, and all of a sudden I return to New York from vacation, only to find commuters literally chasing them down on the subway! Don’t get me wrong, it is all very exciting, and a clear example of (not only) 90s trends rising in all ways, but of a brand embracing its popularity on a digital scale – further tapping into our childhood nostalgia of trading cards at recess (oh, to go back to those days of simplicity). As a person who writes about love and sex for a living – I couldn’t help but think of how this is going to play out on a dating scale, and apparently I wasn’t the only one.
Within a week Pokémon Go has taken the U.S. by storm – already ensconced on more American’s Android phones than Tinder managed to access in four years (nostalgia is a beautiful thing). As it seems it is now the single person’s app of choice, this is only the very beginning of the influence augmented reality will have on how we relate to sex and dating.
“It’s perfect as a dating game,” Karen North, professor of digital social media at the USC Annenberg School told Wired. “You meet someone with a common interest, engage in that activity together, and get a new challenge for tomorrow and the next day.”
“If you’re out and you see somebody playing, it’s like at a bar: it gives you a shared social situation,” says North. “Plus, it breaks through the awkwardness, by providing a natural pick-up line.” Can you imagine going up to someone and asking them out via Pokémon Go? Like, “Your mother and I met when I offered her a Bulbasaur on 5th avenue, my dear.”
Implicitly, it’s (once again) all about engaging with the millennial. The reason that Tinder, Bumble, Happn and Hinge all do so well in the online dating sphere is because they turn the concept of online dating into a ‘game’ of sorts. Who will swipe you back? Will you walk into a potential match around the next corner? How long do you have left to talk to a guy on Bumble before they disappear forever? It’s all about boosting that extra point of difference, and therefore consumer interest, from app to app. It’s only logical that a new game engaging a millennial past time, though not focused on dating, will fuel new relationships for users.
This is a recent Craigslist post via NYMag – yup:
Do you think Pokémon Go is the next dating app of choice? What do you think is the next 90’s past time to be digitized?