Why Pokémon Go is another great argument for Service Virtualization


If you think Pokémon Go is nothing but a kids’ distraction that makes grown men walk off cliffs and drives puzzled parents crazy, think again. Pokémon Go is actually a fountain of money that suddenly spewed out of nowhere.

Maybe you just arrived from a distant planet and somehow missed the news: Pokémon Go is a mobile app that projects imaginary creatures into the real world. They’re all around you, but you can see them only with Nintendo’s app. You walk around and “catch” them, often at PokéStops, and once you have a few, you can take them to Gyms to battle other players’ captured menageries.

In just a few weeks, the free download already has more than 30 million users and is adding up to 2 million per day. It’s a great example of how, in the tech world, centers of gravity can shift overnight, and companies must always be ready to reorient on the fly. The march of technology never stops to wait for your app to catch up.

As Jason Albanese, co-founder and CEO of Centric Digital, wrote this week, the use of augmented reality (AR) in Pokémon Go is already having several profound influences on business paradigms. The wildfire-like spread of this game has opened C-level executives’ eyes to the possibilities in both gaming apps and augmented or virtual reality apps:

“As gamers continue to enjoy this new type of gameplay, the demand for better AR technology will increase — and corporations will eventually find ways to mimic the game’s functionality to boost sales. Or, better yet, savvy companies will create their own AR games and apps based on Pokémon Go principles.”

In other words, the silly game that has people chasing imaginary virtual-reality creatures through actual-reality plazas and parks is proof that AR technology is ripe for reaching masses of customers — for companies that are agile enough to adapt quickly.

Already, and even though Pokémon Go maker Niantic has not open-sourced its code, coders by the thousands are working to crack its API or intercept server data to capitalize on the game’s popularity.

It’s easy to see the game’s marketing possibilities for retail establishments. As Al Roberts wrote over at ClickZ:

“Local businesses that are home to PokéStop can more aggressively court players thanks to an in-app purchasable Lure Module which ‘attracts Pokémon to a PokéStop for 30 minutes.’ Combined with Pokémon GO-specific messaging and promotions, that could prove to be a valuable tool for increasing Pokémon GO foot traffic and turning it into revenue.

“For local businesses that aren’t PokéStops, capitalizing on the game could be more difficult, but Pokémon GO’s commercial opportunities almost certainly won’t be lost on Nintendo and in the future, it’s possible that the company will seek to build offerings around Pokémon GO that allow local businesses to pay to become Gyms and PokéStops.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to think that, in the near future, businesses that hope to benefit from this sensation will need to make their apps compatible with Niantic software.

More broadly, as Apple’s Tim Cook suggested this week, it’s possible that augmented reality is the next big content platform for reaching consumers. “Regardless,” he said. “It will be huge.”

Now that the technology is here, the only question seems to be which companies will be prepared to make the leap, which are dexterous enough to adapt — and which have iterative processes and livelike simulation environments set up that allow them to develop, test and deploy across parallel development teams.

That’s why, strangely, Pokémon Go is another great argument for Service Virtualization, which speeds development of software and enables higher quality, all while driving down costs. Better, cheaper, faster.

As always in the constantly evolving world of enterprise technology, the quick will claim the spoils. Are you ready?