Still playing Pokemon Go? You and 75 million other people, apparently.
- Colorado Twitch streamer Summit1g was swatted while streaming his Pokemon Go play when a horrible person who should totally be arrested for doing this lied to police and told told them Summit1g had an automatic rifle and was planting bombs in the park with the aim to “kill cops.” Fortunately, no one was killed. Not funny.
- Tracking firm SensorTower believes Pokemon Go has scored over 75 million downloads worldwide in 32 of the 100+ markets where it’s currently available — with almost no advertising. However, SurveyMonkey stats seem to suggest Pokemon Go usage actually peaked back on July 14th, downloads peaked on day one, and the frequency of searches on the game is slowly falling.
- Nintendo has announced that the Pokemon Go Plus accessory has been delayed to September, which is bad news if you’re still mentally picturing those peak activity numbers. The accessory is a $35 bluetooth toy that connects to players’ phones to alert them to nearby Pokemon.
- Kotaku reports that Japanese Pokemon Go players are being urged to avoid the radiation zone around the Fukushima Daiichi reactor. The power company responsible for the tsunami-besieged, melted-down reactor has apparently asked Niantic to remove Pokemon spawns from the area – the way it removed some of the 9/11 Memorial Pokestops – but so far, the Pokemon Company and Niantic have issued only vague statements about Fukushima. In the meantime, maybe don’t go there?
The Pokemon Go news never ends. Here’s the best of it from the last 24 hours.
- A shootout at the Pokemon Go corral took place on Monday in Vegas when two people tried to rob a group of Pokemon Go players at gunpoint… and were instead surprised to find one of the players had a gun of his own thanks to his concealed carry permit. One thief and one player were shot and hospitalized with “non-life threatening” injuries. Meanwhile, up in Canada, a woman shot at Pokemon Go players with a pellet gun up on a rooftop. No one was injured, but she was arrested.
- Someone “karped” — that is, trolled — the Pokegym in the White House with a Magikarp named… The Donald. According to Kotaku, it lasted all of two minutes. Apparently you can access that gym from outside the gate, so now the crowd of tourists out there play Pokemon instead of gawking.
- Congrats to Niantic are in order: Pokemon Go has reached 50 million downloads through Google Play — in 20 days.
- Game research firm PlayerXP apparently paid to sponsor an article on GamesIndustry.biz exploring its metrics on Pokemon Go. This is a weird thing for us to link to, but it’s one of the very few pieces out there discussing the game in anything like a negative light, in this case by balancing review scores, reported technical issues, and related searches to arrive at a very poor grade when it comes to player satisfaction with the game. (Obsession is another story. No, obsession is all the other stories.)
Here’s our near-daily smorgasbord of inane Pokemon Go stories. I’m sorry.
- Two kids from Alberta, Canada, crossed the border into the US state of Montana Thursday night in pursuit of — you guessed it — Pokemon. Border Patrol agents picked them up and returned them to their mom, having determined the kids were unaware they had unintentionally illegally disembarked from their country. Plus, you know it was an accident because they were going south. I can see a lot of people “accidentally” wandering north into Canada this year and “forgetting” to come back if you know what I mean.
- Last week, Nintendo set the record straight on its finances, saying that its subcorp The Pokemon Company is benefiting most heavily from Pokemon Go, rather than Nintendo itself. Nintendo was rewarded for its honestly with a stock dip of 18%, a loss of $6.7 billion in its biggest single-day fall in 26 years. The good news is that the stock value is still way up over what it was before the launch of the game, and stock analysts say the market overreacted to Nintendo’s statement.
- A Sydney, Australia, suburb government has petitioned Niantic asking it to remove some of the Pokestops in a local park, which are apparently causing extreme disturbances and expenses in the form of waste removal and rangers for the area. “There have been a number of concerning instances already including an emergency services vehicle having difficulty reaching an apartment fire due to traffic congestion, traffic accidents, and reports of motorcycles using cycle and footpaths to get around traffic congestion,” reads the letter. It’s all fun and games until you’re the one in the ambulance, right?
Happy Friday! Please don’t die in 100 degree heat this weekend playing Pokemon Go, OK? We’d miss you.
- It’s all over, guys: Someone has already beaten Pokemon Go, at least in North America. You can go back inside now. Of course, he hasn’t caught all the rare ones yet — no one has.
- Apparently back in 2001, religious leaders in Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa against playing Pokemon. The Telegraph reports that an ultraconservative cleric has renewed that fatwa as it applies to Pokemon Go, accusing the game of encouraging gambling and using symbols associated with Israel, Christianity, and polytheism.
- Pokemon Go is finally out in Japan on iOS and Android. Yay! Now Andrew will stop being sad. In fact, Japanese players are hopping on the bandwagon of ways to trick phone sensors into believing they’re moving (and therefore the game will hatch eggs and confer XP). And by bandwagon, I really mean toy trains.
- From CNN, there’s the story of an unnamed reporter who was jokingly called out by State department spokesman John Kirby for playing Pokemon Go during a briefing. Kirby was good-humored about it, even circling back at the end to inquire whether the reporter had caught one and apologizing for the bad internet.
- German activists are threatening Niantic with a lawsuit over Pokemon Go’s alleged violations of Germany’s famously protective privacy laws. Consumer advocates are upset over 15 clauses in the TOS, which (among other things) allows the company to share data at is chooses and binds players to arbitration in California. No doubt US courts will give the German public all the same consideration German courts give us, ja?
The first month or so after I tried out my first MMORPG, my boyfriend at the time and I actually shared an account. One of us would play while the other studied or napped, then we’d switch. So buying a second account was an eventual necessity; finally, we could play together, and that’s what we’ve been doing ever since. I love my MMOs because they allow me to hang out with people on the other side of the world, but time and again I return to gaming with my favorite guy in the whole world — even when he’s sitting at the desk three feet from mine.
That compulsion for local “couch co-op” is the subject of research firm Quantic Foundry’s latest blog post, in which Kaleb Embaugh sorts through Quantic’s data to determine that it turns out that people really love local co-op play (and aren’t necessarily being served by the market). On the flipside, the appeal of co-op with strangers versus with friends you already know appears to drop off, whereas competitive gaming with strangers is boosted (at least with men).
This week’s Massively Overthinking is a serious one from our dear Patreon patron Duane. Here’s the jumping off point for his topic:
“There has lately been an attitude on various sites and videos lately regarding MMOs falling out of fashion, and the latest news from Turbine is quite a hefty blow, confirming many a confirmation bias. The sentiment is that the ‘Golden Age’ of MMOs existed back in 1999-2003 and that MMOs are currently in a downward spiral both in quality of content and quantity of viable options. The thing is, since 2010, 20-50 MMOs have been releasing in the west every year, and 2017 is already looking to be a pretty big year for MMOs. In addition, many of the MMOs that launched a decade ago are still playable (even if they may be in a zombie/maintenance mode), and more people are playing MMOs than ever before. There have never before been such a vast selection of available playstyles and unique worlds to explore.”
And here’s what he’d like us to tackle: Was the 1999-2003 era really an MMO golden age, or are we in it now? Are the best days for MMOs behind or ahead of us? I posed all these questions to the MOP writers this week!
So there’s this thing right now. It’s kind of a craze. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Pokemon Go? Yeah, I thought so. The thing is, I myself am not even slightly tempted. As much as folks are flocking to this game, I don’t even have an iota of interest. I did watch the cartoons when I was younger, but the game doesn’t grab me.
But the idea of this kind of gameplay technology does.
When the Pokemon Go discussion turned to using this game style for other things, my interest was piqued and my imagination took off! You might say that Pokemon Go is singularly popular because of the IP and the way it transitions so well into the real world. Well, I know (and love) another game that is seamlessly integrated into the real world: The Secret World! The thought of hunting down investigation missions or lore from TSW got me pretty excited. And what about EverQuest II? Take its collection of shinies and strew them around the world, and suddenly I’m poised to buy a new smartphone. I may not want to hunt and capture pokemon, but hunt shinies and lore? I may never be indoors enough to even play other games!
Both ideas were simultaneously so awesome, I couldn’t decide which one I’d focus on first — hence this week’s mash-up of both the EverQuesting and Chaos Theory columns.
Welcome back to our near-daily roundup of Pokemon Go news from around the alternate reality that we all live in now.
What became an overnight global phenomenon certainly prompted the MMO blogosphere to talk about their experiences and opinions with Pokémon GO!
To Game for Life calls it a “juggernaut,” In An Age says it’s a “perfect storm in motion,” while The Ancient Gaming Noob deems it “a moment of change for Nintendo.” Bloggers recalled their adventures, such as traipsing across Nature Island, ending up on marathon walks through hot weather, investigating unknown parks, prowling around after dark, and getting unnerved by proximity to strangers.
For the six of you out there who are Pikachu-free and happy to keep it that way, we’ve got a lovely assortment of non-Pokémon GO MMO articles and discussions for you after the break!
Another day, another round of wild Pokemon Go stories from across the globe.
- Let’s kick it off with this story from the Guardian: Bosnian players are being “urged to avoid areas littered with unexploded mines left over from the 1990s conflict.” It’s no joke; almost 2000 people have been killed or injured by landmines in the area in the years since the war ended. Be careful out there.
- A gamer crashed his car into a cop car in Baltimore because he was distracted playing Pokemon Go. The incident was low-impact and handled well by all involved, but it could have been a tragedy. Please don’t drive and Pokemon. It’s really not funny and it could ruin lives.
- Canadians showed how friendly and lovable they are by putting together a Pokemon Go community before the game was even officially out up North, not that that stopped them from downloading it on the US market anyway.
- Here’s a neat piece on legal rights as they pertain to the game. Do you have the right to trespass on private property in search of Pokemon? (No, of course not.) Do you have the right to force Niantic to remove virtual Pokemon from private property — or public property that’s inappropriate for gaming, like cemeteries or the Holocaust Museum? (More concerningly, also no.)
- Like chatting with Pokebuddies? There’s an app for that — but it’s by Razer, not Nintendo or Niantic.
It’s been a while since Ingress has opened up any new portals, but now there are a rash of them springing to life up and down the west coast of the USA. The portals seem to be primarily focused around MUFG Union Banks, which boast 370 locations in Washington, Oregon, and California.
“It seems that the expansion has now begun, and Agents have already begun to encounter these new portals and use them to hack MUFG capsules for themselves,” the site said.
Pokémon Go players should note that Ingress is also run by Niantic and that the two games do share several key locations.
. Thanks to Nordavind for the tip!
Is Pokémon GO an MMO? Is it going to consume society as we know it? Is it making virtual reality super-jealous? You just know that Bree and Justin had to tackle this global phenomenon as they get back into the swing of things.
It’s the Massively OP Podcast, an action-packed hour of news, tales, opinions, and gamer emails! And remember, if you’d like to send in your own letter to the show, use the “Tips” button in the top-right corner of the site to do so.
A new Kotaku interview with Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan has shed new light on the state of Overwatch — you know, the game everyone played before Pokemon Go eclipsed the sun.
The interview focuses heavily on the game’s competitive mode, which evolved from a planned pre-made 6v6 matchup to one that allows solo queuing, with rank rewards alotted accordingly, but he also talks future plans. “We’ve talked about tons of basic stuff like getting rid of the coin flip and adding time bank to the payload stuff, but we’re really talking a lot about skill rating and trying to recalibrate how players think about skill rating for season 2 meaning right now,” Kaplan said. “We feel like a lot of the things we did in the UI and the numbers that we chose make players think if skill rating as a leveling system.”
He also rejects the idea that Overwatch is a MOBA and says Blizzard is working on toxicity, leavers, new levels, and new modes. “My dream is that we could do something cool each month that felt not just like a balance patch, but actually felt like a meaningful content or feature delivery each month and somehow the heroes and the maps are kind of cycling as parts of those things in addition to other stuff.”