10 Ways Pokemon Go is Improving Cities and Society

A woman holds up her cell phone as she plays the Pokemon Go game in Lafayette Park in front of the White House in Washington, DC, July 12, 2016. Pokémon Go mania is sweeping the US as players armed with smartphones hunt streets, parks, rivers and elsewhere to capture monsters and gather supplies in the hit game. The free application based on a Nintendo title that debuted 20 years ago has been adapted to the mobile internet Age by Niantic Labs, a company spun out of Google last year after breaking ground with an "Ingress" game that merged mapping capabilities with play. As of July 11, 2016 Pokémon Go had been downloaded millions of times, jumping topping rankings at official online shops for applications tailored for smartphones powered by Apple or Google-backed Android software. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

For people who have not been paying attention to the news, Pokemon Go is a mobile installment in Nintendo’s popular Pokemon franchise. While Pokemon has remained popular since its initial launch, Pokemon Go has returned it to the heights of its popularity in the west, so much so that it is actually having a noticeable impact on its players. Sometimes, this impact has been negative in nature, but most of the time, it has been for the better, not just for the players but also for their communities.

Here are 10 reasons that Pokemon Go is actually improving cities:

Moving in real life

First and foremost, players have to move in real life if they want to move in Pokemon Go. Since searching for the right Pokemon can take hours and hours, this means that players are spending hours and hours on their feet, which promises important health benefits such as better physical performance and lowered chances for serious medical conditions. By producing healthier people, Pokemon Go is producing healthier communities.

Habit Building

Fitness is habit-building. For example, players will still be in much better shape even if they eventually stop playing Pokemon Go, meaning that they are likelier to choose more physically-intense options. As a result, they are also likelier to stay in shape, which once again, means healthier people for healthier communities.

Get Outside

Pokemon Go is giving people a reason to go outside of their homes instead of staying in as much as possible. This is important because it could help people with depression get both the exercise and the human contact that they need to alleviate its symptoms. While Pokemon Go should not be seen as a cure, it can provide a helping hand to communities by strengthening the mental health of its people.

Blow off stress

Having fun is one of the simplest and most straightforward ways to make someone not just happier but also healthier. Since playing Pokemon Go needs nothing more than a smartphone or some other mobile device, this means that it is a great way for its players to blow off some stress, thus lowering their chances for all sorts of serious medical conditions.

Take a break

For that matter, Pokemon Go is also a great way to remind people that they should be taking regular breaks from whatever they are doing. In part, this is because regular movement prevents the health problems that can come from someone being stuck in the same position for hours and hours at a time, which is particularly problematic when they have chosen a particularly unhealthy position to be stuck in. However, it should also be noted that regular breaks can help them refocus on their tasks once they return, meaning that they can actually make them more productive rather than less productive.

Good health habits

From a societal perspective, trends that encourage bad health in people are seriously problematic because they reduce productivity while also forcing all sorts of costs onto their institutions. If Pokemon Go can genuinely help people lose weight, their reduced chances of serious medical conditions mean reduced burden on hospitals and other healthcare facilities, which in turn, means that their limited resources can be spent on people with more serious problems.

Socially helpful

There are a lot of people who are interested in Pokemon Go. As a result, people who are playing Pokemon Go can meet up with a wide range of people from a wide range of backgrounds and circumstances, thus giving them plenty of chances to make new friends. Since humans are social animals, it should come as no surprise to learn that spending time with our friends is a great way to not just make us happier and healthier but also create stronger communities by establishing bonds between their members.

Crossing the tech barrier

On a related note, Pokemon Go has also been noted to help some families cross the technological barrier that often exists between different generations. By being so accessible, the mobile app is helping families do things together while also encouraging them to do something healthier than just staying inside to watch TV. By doing so, it produces stronger families, which are one of the foundations of stronger communities. Something that is particularly important because families have been drifting apart in recent decades because of all the demands that have been placed on people’s limited time and attention.

Learning about communities

A lot of destinations in Pokemon Go are connected to important locations in real life. As a result, people playing Pokemon Go are getting the chance to catch Pokemon while also learning more about all of their communities’ most important locations, meaning that they are actually being educated and entertained at the same time. Better still, since they gain such a good understanding of their communities by playing Pokemon Go, they will also have a much easier time finding their way to where they want to go in the future, thus potentially saving them from the considerable frustration that someone can experience when they become lost.

Small Businesses

Finally, Pokemon Go is benefiting small businesses. Partly, this is because people walking around see more small businesses, thus increasing the chance that they will walk into them to see what products and services they have to offer. However, it should also be noted that particularly clever business owners are actually buying lures in Pokemon Go to bring in Pokemon, which in turn, will bring in Pokemon Go players. Spending more in small businesses is important because most of their revenues will eventually be spent on other small businesses in the same region, thus making for stronger communities by stimulating their local economies.

Further Considerations

It remains to be seen whether Pokemon Go will be able to retain its players once the initial hype fades. If Nintendo continues to make it closer and closer to the main installments of the franchise, it seems probable that it will remain popular for a long, long time to come. So long as it does, it will continue changing communities for the better so long as players remain to take some basic precautions.


  1. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/07/160715181715.htm
  2. https://www.engadget.com/2016/07/13/pokemon-go-mental-health-science/
  3. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tarahaelle/2016/07/11/five-ways-pokemon-go-is-actually-good-for-you/#350ffe4237b5
  4. http://www.inc.com/walter-chen/pok-mon-go-is-driving-insane-amounts-of-sales-at-small-local-businesses-here-s-h.html


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