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Photo: Erica Lång
They will also study how winter and cold affect play of Pokemon Go. View original picture , opens in new tab/window

Pokemon Go's success factors studied

Published: 6 December 2016

In July, Pokemon Go was down loaded 100 million times. Now, a research team will investigating what makes the game so popular, so they can use the knowledge in further studies of children's physical activity and gamification. Also how factors like winter and cold affect a game like Pokémon Go will be investigated.

– By examining the experiences of playing Pokemon Go we can capture the components that makes you keep playing and to transfer this knowledge to a project promoting active school transport, says professor and physiotherapist Anna-Karin Lindqvist, health and rehabilitation at Lulea University of Technology.

– The study will be conducted in Luleå and we are also curious about how the seasons and climate may affect a game Pokemon Go, says professor and physiotherapist Stina Rutberg, health and rehabilitation at Luleå University.

Games for increasing physical activity

Physical activity has many health benefits for children. By motivating children to walk or cycle to school the recommendations of 60 minutes of daily physical activity is easily accessed. Use of the technology, computer or mobile phone, can be a contributing factor to inactivity, but games and gamification also has a great potential to affect children's motivation and learning.

Pokemon Go was launched not to increase physical activity and yet it has motivated players to be more physical active. The knowledge gathered during the project will provide a set of recommended gamification concepts and combinations that can be applied to other types of applications intended for the same audience.

– The game is relatively new and there is limited research on its effects on health through increased physical activity, but to use the awards or to want to reach a new level can be an opportunity to inspire and motivate healthy behavior, says assistant professor Josef Hallberg, Computer Science at Luleå University.

Pokemon Go is a game that reinforces the reality, so-called augmented reality, with computer-generated sensory input such as sound, graphics and data. Because really is reinforced, there are certain risks associated with being inattentive to their surroundings while playing the game and therefore also potential risks will be raised in this project.

Focus groups with children and parents

In this project, data will be gathered from focus groups with children aged 7-12 and their parents who have experience of playing Pokemon Go.

The project will increase cooperation in the university, but also internationally. The results will be discussed with a research team led by Professor Darla Castelli at the University of Texas at Austin, UT, United States, which has world-leading expertise in the development and implementation of school-based interventions to promote physical activity and gamification.

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