The Psychology on How Pokémon GO Gets You Hooked

Pokemon Go Screenshot

Gotta Catch Em’ All?

Chances are you already know a lot about Pokémon GO, the new augmented reality mobile game that has been taking the world by storm. The game is now by far the most downloaded mobile app ever and shows no signs of stopping.

So, what is really driving so many people to download and play the game? The answer: Psychology in combination with the content of the game and the right timing. All of this creates a perfect recipe for an obsession, and for some, an addiction.

The following are the key psychological drivers that explain why Pokémon GO is so successful.

Social Components Make the Game Viral

By its very nature, there are many social components to Pokémon GO. While walking through neighborhoods, parks, retail stores, and restaurants looking for Squirtle, you’re bound to meet new people who are also playing the game. People also often share their experiences with the game on social media as well, which provides opportunities to engage online.

Along with these benefits, Pokémon GO has the power of social influence. Nearly everyone these days is playing the game and talking about it and the news media can’t get enough of the frenzy. Studies show that people tend to go along with something everyone is doing, especially if it’s fun and interactive. The more traction the game gets, the more likely others who hesitated participating will join in and play too.

Emotional Connection and Nostalgia

For many people playing Pokémon GO, the game creates an emotional connection, especially with those who already played Pokémon trading cards or video games in the past. This connection provides nostalgia for these people, which according to research, raises optimism, creates inspiration, elevates creativity, and fosters a more social atmosphere.

“Nostalgia is just as much about the future as it is the past,” says Dr. Clay Rutledge, a professor of psychology at North Dakota State University in an interview with Time magazine. “It wouldn’t surprise me at all if this Pokémon GO phenomenon was making people make new friends because they have shared memories.”

The benefits of nostalgia create happiness and provide a natural mood boost. Plus, there is also the added benefits of more exercise and potential weight loss chasing Charmander, Pikachu, and many others. According to Clinic Compare, if you catch 100 a day, you’ll lose about a pound every three and a half days.

A Great Distraction from the Real-World

With all of the bad news lately regarding the presidential election, terrorism attacks all over the world, and police shootings, it’s no wonder why so many people are turning to Pokémon GO. It’s a great distraction from everything going on the real-world. The game also enhances the activities of daily life. Taking the kids to the park or going out to dinner becomes a lot more fun because you’re able to catch a few Pokémon along the way. Hikes, walks, and runs have also never been better and you may even need to go farther distances to catch all the Pokémon along your route.

As you can see, Pokémon GO is successful due its social appeal, emotional connection and nostalgia, and its ability to distract people from the real-world. While it may help to increase your physical and social well-being, it’s important to also balance your life. Remember that Pokémon GO only provides benefits as long as it’s used in moderation.

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