How to Build a Winning App like POKEMON GO!


You’ve probably already heard all the hype around Pokémon GO. It’s literally everywhere! Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and that’s just online. Turn off the computer, they are even talking about it on TV. You go outside to a park, grocery store or any public place, there’s probably someone poking around an artifact trying to find and catch a Pokémon. Pokémon GO is likely the biggest augmented reality app to date that captures that childhood nostalgia in a virtual world.

But did you know that Pokémon GO’s target market aren’t just for Pokémon fans? Their marketing campaign attracted a much more extensive audience than the adults that played Pokémon decades ago as children. Pokémon Go players traverse their surroundings in search of any nearby Pokémon, they also get to make PokéStops which are typically easily identifiable landmarks, such as public art installations, nearby stores, and restaurants. Training, capturing and defending Gyms add a whole other layer of complexity. So what makes this app so special? Is it worth the hype?

We’ve compiled the reasons why we believe this app to be so successful so you can follow in Pokémon’s footsteps and create a winner app like Pokémon GO:

1. Build a sense of community – From the sharing of tips, tricks and on how to improve your gameplay, Pokémon GO builds that camaraderie like most successful apps we’ve seen. In addition, you’ll be asked to join a team to work together or play as rivals. What a great way to create alliances and stare down your rivals.

2. Create a user experience that rocks – A unique app with a stunning design interface is always a good start. Code your app giving the user a simple, intuitive user interface with a rich experience. App developers tend not to be User Interface (UI) Specialists. Graphic designers should also focus on the User Experience (UX), not just the aesthetics. Make sure your app team members work closely together. We do not recommend using a graphic team that is a separate entity from the app development team as working separately may result in a product that may not be as seamless as it could be and compromise release dates. Select an app team that has a history of working cohesively and integratively.

3. Hype up your app – While most of us do not have the budget to air an ad during the Superbowl 50 reintroducing Pokémon to 111.9 million TV viewers, every successful app is typically worth its hype. Once your app is ready to be submitted to the app stores, ensure you set a definite release date. Next, plan out your app’s publicity by marketing online, via app ad-networks, social media as well as print media. Play up the hype.

4. Select the right technology – Choosing the right technology that meets your short and long term goals is critical. You may want to build in native or hybrid. Do you want to build in iOS, Android or both? Also consider building a website just to launch and share information about your app. Budget plays a big part in choosing the right approach, so plan and execute carefully as this will determine how far you can take your app before you have to completely rebuild or redesign.

5. Ask for reviews – Encourage user feedback. Submit your app for review to services such as App Advice and MacWorld. Having solid reviews from a trusted source helps encourage more app downloads. Most users read reviews before they proceed to download apps so the more the merrier.

6. Provide maximum interactivity – Unlike most apps that you play in a static environment, Pokémon GO forces players to get up, get out and explore their towns, cities, even travel the globe. This real-world interaction with the player’s surrounding environment provides enrichment unlike any other game we’ve experienced in years.

The above-mentioned practices should set you on the right track to building a winning app such as Pokémon GO. We believe its fresh approach and real-world interactivity is what makes this AR app such a huge success. Well, that and who can resist Pikachu?! These tips should help you put your best foot forward so best of luck in creating your next killer app!


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