Monday 8 August 2016

Development Lessons from Pokémon Go

For starters Pokémon: A Japanese franchise created in 1995, beginning as video games for Nintendo's Game Boy. Now Pokémon Go is a mobile phone game in the Pokémon franchise, relying on augmented reality.

Users play as Pokémon trainers to capture and evolve Pokémon in the real world. The user walks around outside, or inside, and looks for a Pokémon to capture. In fact, Pokémon Go is already the biggest US mobile game of all time, with 21 million active users. This craze is exploding to other countries, just in few days of launching in Singapore it had become most installed mobile game in Singapore so far.

Now pretty much everything negative or positive has been said about the game already. But one thing we all agree is that it’s the beginning of augmented reality gaming and the trend is most likely to continue in different arena of mobile apps. After reading numerous posts and little bit of hands on experience with this game (level 5 with 48 Pokémon collected so far) I realised there are some interesting development lessons to be learnt here.

1.      Testing & Quality is ongoing process

Its apparent that the game creators were not ready for the overwhelming response.  When it got out of control over the initial craze and excitements, servers crashed several times, users were unable to login, register or get necessary data while playing the app. With numerous problems users experienced the company had to rollout several updates/ patches to sustain the situation and to keep the momentum going. This brings us to the important aspect of any development: Test all possible use cases — including geolocations, devices, operating systems, hardware, diverse transaction etc. Quality is not about testing one time and blindly delivering it to the users. Quality is about continuously testing and evolving to provide error free user experience.

2.      Validating User data

Crowd-sourced data is vital when it comes to building such augmented reality game, however the data is naturally susceptible to human errors. Numerous security issues and hassles were created because of pokestops in strange locations which became international news. Data Validation: is the best way to go about making sure the application developed did not create undesired consequences / damages.  Of course this is easier said than done for application developers as it requires time and effort in assuming all the possible scenarios and the most unexpected data inputs. But I rather have an application delivered after few weeks than delivering on time with unexpected consequences.

3.      Front end matters

The front-end graphical user interface (GUI) of Pokémon depends not only on the API responses, but also on mobile device hardware/sensor data. For instance, in this case, the location of the player is determined by location-based sensors GPS, which in turn determines the GUI behaviour of the game. While I don’t deny that backend functionality or solid foundation is the baseline for an app to succeed, I think it’s absolutely important that your front end creates that seamless, error free usability and features. Mobile apps are all about seamless user experience on different platforms, devices etc. and its time that we give equal if not more importance to the front end while developing apps.

There are million possibilities for implementation and growth across all sectors using augmented reality, and Pokémon Go is doing a fantastic job of giving us a taste of it. Mobile application development has new benchmarks and also numerous promises to fulfil as we go. This is why at PsiberTech Solutions, we sail in with current technologies and trends to ensure outstanding results when it comes to developing software applications for Business.  To know more write to me or contact me in the details provided below. Thanks for stopping by and have a fantastic day!

Srivatsan Aravamudan
Srivatsan Aravamudan
Telephone:+65 62689551
Fax:+65 62689858
Pre-Sales, Communications and Digital Marketing Manager

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