The participants of the Pokemon Go roundtable discussed the progression of gaming and how advances in mobile gaming have made Pokemon Go possible, but further how the game exploded and the public responded to this new form of media.
Media has come further than just being classed as creative content that we observe or interact with on a screen. It has blurred the lines of what is virtual and what is reality. This was highlighted by Steve Benford who explored the content games developed in the early noughties such as Can You See Me Now (2001) that had a similar premise as Pokemon Go. When observing how the technology such as GPS has evolved so quickly it is clear to see how it is difficult to define media due to its ever changing and fluid nature. These games used elements such as online players and real life active players which combined to create a mixed reality game. Benford explains how Pokemon juxtaposes these realities by bringing the game into the real world and showing an augmented reality on top of what we see. He also explained the concept of “the magic circle”, which is the world created by the game you are playing, and showed how these new games break through this barrier into the real world by using things from the physical world in the game. For example, this might involve getting into a car that the game has told you where to find as featured in the game “Uncle Roy All Around You”. Similarly, Pokemon uses maps and GPS to place things in the game where they appear to be in real life such as landmarks and places of interest.
Speaker at the event Ruth Deller explored the craze of Pokemon and the rise and fall of its popularity especially in media coverage. She explained how Pokemon Go was launched during the summer “silly season” where less news and products are being produced, thereby leading to the sensationalising of Pokemon Go in the absence of other stories. This suggests that media is partially defined as marketing and selling as much as the telling of a story and that the goal of the media is to become as known and popular as possible. The media is just the platform for this marketing whether its selling the brand of Pokemon itself and encouraging revenue to be made by purchasing merchandise or its newspapers writing articles about Pokemon Go to attract the game’s audience. Media could also be defined as the convergence of platforms to create synergies such as Pokemon having its own TV show, card game, and toys. This flow in the branding through the different forms of media is a key part of how media is changing in the current day.
A wide range of organisations such as restaurants and cafes are asking people to set Pokestops and offering deals in conjunction with the game, thereby using the media again as a selling tool.
Image not my own (source)