pokemon go

Official Site: Pokemon Go
Studio: Niantic
Launch Date: July 6, 2016
Genre: MMOARG
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: Android, iOS

Examining the potential for exercise and exploration in Pokemon GO

Just in time for your New Year's resolution, we reported on how Pokemon Go was featured in a peer-reviewed study on getting people to move more. But truthfully, Pokemon and Nintendo have built exercise games several times in the past, and Niantic never advertises PoGO as an exercise game. It's an ARG. In fact, the official site never mentions exercise, just exploring. That being said, we don't really think of adventurers or explorers as being slugabeds. So what is PoGO doing with exploration that gets people to exercise, and is it really that effective?

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Pokémon Go made $950 million in 2016, but players aren't walking as much

There's no doubt that last year was phenomenal for Pokémon Go, as the popular app racked up an astounding $950 million in revenue by the end of 2016.

A study by App Annie credited Pokémon Go's success to the combination of simple mechanics, social features, AR gameplay, and the popularity of the Pokémon franchise. "To put Pokémon Go’s success in a broader perspective, its global consumer spend in 2016 exceeded the total worldwide box office gross of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice," the study said.

One of the touted benefits of the augmented reality game is how it got players moving. According to Niantic, collectively players logged 8.7 billion kilometers walked so far. However, a study in a British medical journal found that while most players started out by walking much more in the first week of play, by week six they were back to their old habits and any health benefits from the game were negated.

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The MOP Up: Black Desert loyalty rewards (January 15, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week, Black Desert Online started rewarding loyal players with all manner of goodies. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Guild Wars 2Overwatch, Defiance, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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Pokemon Go: Increasing physical activity in the US, blockaded in China

Is Pokemon Go making you healthier? Maybe not yet, but researchers from a Stanford/Microsoft team have determined that Pokemon Go play correlates with increased physical activity and exercise. They tracked data from 32,000 Microsoft Band users for three months to determine that "engaged users" increased their activity on average nearly 1500 per day, allowing them to suggest that the MMOARG "added a total of 144 billion steps to US physical activity," in contrast to other "health" apps.

The paper is published in the high-impact open-access Journal of Medical Internet Research for those who want to read it in full without paywall. The authors do note that their sample is not random, as the Band is an expensive device, and most users were male. They also note that the study cannot comment on the long-term effects of physical activity.

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Recapping MMORPG science in 2016

You guys may not have consciously noticed it, but we've been working harder and harder on our science-related articles in the past couple of years -- even more than in 2015. This past year, we even hired on a staff writer specifically to cover gaming science, especially as it relates to MMORPGs, and we've been collecting all of his work along with our other science posts in their very own category.

Read on for a recap of our best science-related MMO articles from 2016, from virtual reality tech and the Gamer Motivation Model to EVE Online's Project Discovery and the psychology of Pokemon Go. Don't worry; there won't be a quiz at the end!

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The best Massively OP MMO polls of 2016

Every week for the last few years, we've expanded on our "Daily Grind" theme with a Leaderboard poll. I've had a blast taking over Leaderboard; Daily Grinds always get lovely qualitative answers, but numbers! tallies! bar graphs! Polls are a quantitative sort of magic that we don't often get from our other articles -- at least when they aren't being brigaded.

Let's take a look back at our best MMO polls of 2016!

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MMO Year in Review: Pokemon madness (July 2016)

This year, we’re taking a time-machine back through our MMO coverage, month by month, to hit the highlights and frame our journey before we head into 2017.

Everyone saw Pokemon Go coming, but few people anticipated just how huge it was going to be this summer. We actually resorted to daily roundups of Pokemon Go news as mainstream media, never mind gaming sites, began covering it as a cultural phenomenon around the clock.

Meanwhile, July also saw WoW Legion rumblings, the launch of Guild Wars 2's third living story season, and another panic moment for Firefall.

Read on for the whole list!

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The MOP Up: Christmas in a warzone (December 25, 2016)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week, Warface brought a little holiday cheer into its relentless warzones. We’ve got that plus stories and videos from Overwatch, Elder Scrolls Online, Minecraft, and more, all waiting for you after the break!

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How Pokemon Go should integrate Pokemon Sun/Moon

Say what you will about following tradition, but when I first heard more Pokemon would be added to Pokemon GO, the first thing I thought was, "Please, please don't add new 'mon based on generations!" Maybe you have fond memories of evolving the Magmar my generation loved into the abominations it became, or maybe you thought the elemental monkeys weren't lame. That's fine. We were all dumb kids who loved weird things. I won't judge you (too harshly, anyway).

But honestly, from a development perspective, and keeping in mind the Pokemon Company's theme of adding something new that targets first generation fans, I feel like Niantic missed some big opportunities by focusing on the old Generation 2 Pokemon when the new Pokemon Sun and Moon games are so ripe for potential expansion content.

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Massively OP's Best of 2016 Awards: The Pseudo-MMO of the Year

Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Best Pseudo-MMO of 2016, which was awarded to ARK: Survival Evolved last year. As you might surmise, the games eligible for this category are online games that generally aren't considered traditional MMORPGs -- they're MOBAs, online dungeon crawlers, ARPGs, online shooters, survival sandboxes, and other games that tread into MMO territory but aren't full MMORPGs. Once again, we've opted to include pre-2016 titles, as long as they accomplished something truly notable in this calendar year. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Best Pseudo-MMO of 2016 is...

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Massively OP's guide to the 2016 MMORPG winter holidays

It's time to get all snuggly in front of a crackling fire, roast up some chestnuts, down a gallon of hot chocolate, and log into your favorite online RPGs for seasonal festivities! Or you could "bah humbug!" your way through the season and ignore all of the silly, free, and rewarding events if you so desire. We're not here to tell you what to do, after all!

With extra time off of work and school, many gamers have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the winter holiday events that are running across MMORPGs, MOBAs, and other online games. Feeling at a loss about where to start? Board the Massively OP sleigh and join us as we take you on a tour of all of the Christmas events going on right now!

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Massively OP's Best of 2016 Awards: Worst MMORPG Business Model of 2016

Massively Overpowered's end-of-the-year 2016 awards continue today with our award for Worst MMORPG Business Model of 2016, which is another new consideration for us this year thanks to a proposal from readers strangesands and Roke. As a counterpart to yesterday's award for the best business model of the year, this "award" is intended to recognize a live MMORPG of any age that has demonstrated a particularly awful business model specifically in 2016, regardless of its past performance. Don't forget to cast your own vote in the just-for-fun reader poll at the very end!

The Massively OP staff pick for Worst MMORPG Business Model of 2016 is...

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