There are a number of reasons which make Pokemon Go popular.Â I believe that the Ingress User base plays a key role, that marketing had an effect and that curiousity also played an important role.
Big user base
Ingress has a large and vibrant community of players. These players are so passionate about this game that they are willing to walk 30 or more kilometres a day whilst staring at their phone. They are ready to climb to the peaks of some mountains and brave rain, sleet, snow, high winds, mud, heat and the cold. How many of us have had our fingers go numb as a result of playing ingress after all. That passion for the game was seen by children and Ingress playing parents let their children play. The children found it fun and so when they heard that Pokemon Go was coming out they automatically wanted to use this game.
This adds a second dimension. Parents who enjoy playing Ingress are likely to have more than one mobile phone and more than one data sim. These parents are ready to give a mobile phone and sim card to their children. These children are then likely to play with friends. Yesterday evening when I was with Ingress players they had already switched to Pokemon Go and they kept commenting on the number of children they saw already playing the game.
Remember that we live in a globalised society. Whether you live in France, Belgium, Germany, Australia or the United States you will have heard about Ingress, about Pokemon Go and you will have been curious to try the new game
The beauty of modern society is that we live in a globalised discussion environment where things that capture the imagination are discussed and spread at the speed of light, or at least very close to it. This means that when a game is made available in one country every other country is curious to try it. Curiousity made me download the game. We will see how long the interest lasts.
Marketing plays a role to get new members engaged in to the community that already exists. Marketing is now global, not local. When you market to one market the world takes note. Content is geo-blocked but not adverts. Marketing creates the demand. Problem solving satisfies the demand, unofficially.
The Ingress community is a tight-knit and dedicated community. The game originated in the US but as Europeans, Africans, Asians, Latin Americans and the international community played this game so they laid down the grown work for the game to be engaging for people everywhere. The more portals are within easy walking distance the more engaged you will be. The more convenient they make the game the more likely you are to play on.
I write this as a person who downloaded Ingress, played for a few minutes two or three years ago and then left it. It was only when A First Saturday was organised in Lausanne and that I saw how many people were in the community that I decided to give more time to the game. We speak about word of mouth and virality via Social Media. The community simply shifted from one game to the next at a global level.
Ingress by Niantic is a popular game with a close-knit and dedicated community of gamers. These gamers have shared their passion for one game and are now shifting towards Pokemon Go. Using portals as Pokestop has saved Niantic thousands of hours of work. No need to recreate hundreds of points, no need to approve them. Everything except server capacity is ready for this game to become global.