Saturday, September 17, 2016

Interview with Pokemon Go Chief

This is pretty interesting, and I think PicoP, once in a mass market product will experience growth on a similar trajectory. 

And I think PicoP is the perfect Pokemon Go accessory.

Venture beat

Hanke: If we could have seen the future we would have provisioned for 500 million downloads in two months. But if we had told anyone that was our plan, we would have sounded insane. I don’t know how you plan for something as strange as the way it took off virally. We just had to play catch up. I wish we’d had everything provisioned in advance, but I don’t know how any of us could have anticipated that.


We thought about Pokémon because the story of Pokémon, the notion of becoming a trainer and going out into the world, it’s really the perfect setting for an augmented reality game. At the same time, independent of all that, a guy on the Google Maps team was collaborating with the Pokémon Company to do this April Fool’s mashup for Maps. Some of you probably saw that, when Pokémon appeared all over Google Maps. Once we saw that we realized we had to do this.

We went to Tokyo and pitched the Pokémon Company. They were super excited. They’d been playing Ingress and the immediately got that this real-world gaming concept would fit perfectly with Pokémon. We started in, and it was in development for about two years before we launched.


Hanke: It’s not exclusive. Our mission as a company is to evangelize this whole concept of playing game outside, real world games, what we call augmented reality games. We want lots of people to create games like that. Our technology is a platform that can be used to make these experiences. We’re interested in moving that genre of games forward. A part of that is moving people away from looking at their phone all the time and enabling them to enjoy the people around them, to walk around and see the sights while you’re also playing the game. Apple Watch is a great vehicle for that.


Working with Apple on that was amazing. It was amazing to be part of an Apple event. Even after a decade at Google, to go through the preparation and everything Apple does for one of their big launch events was illuminating. It’s an interesting piece of hardware. The stand-alone functionality with the GPS, faster processor, waterproof, I like where they’re going with that.

We also have the Pokémon Go Plus, which is a low-cost $35 device that pairs with your smartphone and gives you the ability to play heads-up while you’re walking or running or biking. That’s an interesting part of the strategy. If other devices come on the market, like Android devices, or devices from other quadrants that are interesting for active, mobile gameplay, we’ll look into supporting those too.

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