Why Pokémon GO Matters to the ProAV Market

pokemon_go_title-0617In case you’ve been living under a rock, been attending too many boring AV-oriented sales presentations disguised as educational webinars OR are not connected to anyone on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or Instagram, there’s this new mobile app game called Pokémon GO that’s taken the world (and not just the tech world) by storm.

Pokémon GO is an incredible example of the gamification of augmented reality for the masses. Simply put, you discover and capture the Pokémon all around you — in the real world — using the game app and your phone’s camera (plus a cool integration of Google Maps). The more you find and capture, the more points you get.

The designers of the game — John Henke, CEO of Niantic Labs, along with Nintendo — even admitted that an impetus for making it was the exercise potential of kids. You see, you have to get up off the couch and find the Pokémon by actually walking around your house, neighborhood, town, etc. And, to earn eggs, you actually have to run (or at least walk) a mile, a 3K or even a 5K. It’s genius — and it’s working. Just go to your local mall, outdoor recreational area, park or town’s gathering area and you’ll actually see kids AND adults holding their phones up NOT to text, but to play this augmented reality game.

So, why should ProAV care?

This game is HUGE — you should NOT underestimate the eventual trickle-down effects.

pokemon-go-screenshots-0716Six years ago, I wrote a series on how the projector is starting down its death path and described how we would all, eventually, be carrying around Personal Information Displays (PIDs). So now it’s 2016 and we’re all carrying phones. Most of us attend meetings with tablets or laptops, too, but we all still have our phones.

So, the age of the PID is here. And, if you stop to think, you’d already realized this was upon us — it just wasn’t affecting you much yet. But it had already affected your kids. In fact, I will bet you that nearly every person reading this who has kids will agree that their kids watch WAY, WAY more TV on their PIDs (e.g., phone, laptop or tablet) than they do on the “enchanted box” known as the TV. It’s both time-shifting TV and place-shifting as now, even though you wouldn’t buy them a TV for their room, they are watching it — just not on a traditional TV. So the PID shift has already happened to virtually every one under the age of 25.

When will the rest of us? Well, that was the piece I hadn’t figured out. It’s been years since kids have shifted to the PID, but us old people still rely on the fixed-screen format of the TV. And, most older people playing video games play them on Xbox, Playstation, etc. — even though our kids are playing well over 85 percent of their games on an iPhone or Android device.

Then on July 6th, 2016, Nintendo’s gaming group released Pokémon GO and all of a sudden you have parents (regular adults) who are using their own PIDs to play a game. This is a first.

Sure, we’ve all had a quick FaceTime call via the PID and maybe a Skype call via the PID, but we haven’t replaced the desktop imaging device we use with a cell phone — even though the iPhone 6 Plus has more computing power than a desktop from three years ago.

We all also walk in to meetings with a PID — all the time. Yet we all still stare at the ProAV’s version of the enchanted box (aka projector or LED screen).

So now that we’ve seen the way (the way our kids already saw it three, four or five years ago) — and that it’s OK to use a PID for more than taking calls — how much more time before the giant wall-mounted screen gets displaced by the PID that’s already right at your fingertips all the time?

Sure, you think it doesn’t help any of us in ProAV to tell a client that he shouldn’t buy a projector or monitor and should just use his mobile phone instead. But you are wrong!

We are in the business of simplification of pushing content — not the just the business of displaying content.

Don’t get caught off-guard; this isn’t just a fad — Pokémon GO is the very beginning of something big. The very beginning — remember, it’s only been out nine days.