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The Prospects of Pokemon GO in Nigeria

We’re all excited about getting to play Pokemon all over again. So much memroies, so much fun. Still, we have to take a second to think about what exactly the prospects of this augmented reality game are in Nigeria. 

Over the weekend, the Pokemon GO rollout for android and iOS in the US had pretty much the whole world excited. If you were maybe under a rock and you don’t know what I’m talking about, Pokemon GO is a new game by Nintendo and Niantic Labs that lets you create an avatar that can catch, train, trade and battle Pokémon characters inside the game. What makes Pokemon GO different from every other Pokemon game is the fact that this one uses your phone’s location services and camera so that you’re sort of playing the game in real life.

In this augmented reality game, you actually have to “get up and go”. As you move around your city, so does your avatar in the game. Thanks to technology from Google Maps, your avatar is placed in a virtual world that mirrors your real life surroundings. When you find a Pokemon, it looks like it’s standing right in front of you.

Tthis Video Explains it Better

Of course, the release of this game has been awesome for so many reasons. Firstly because we have these lovable pocket monsters back in our lives in a more fun, interactive way that won’t make you feel a little bit embarassed to be playing it. Also, Nintendo’s stock went up by 10 percent on Friday and people are actually getting more exercise.

However, as with all good things, Pokemon Go also has its negative effects. As of now, peple have somehow managed to use the game to rob people, someone found a dead body floating in a river, and people have to be warned not to play the game while driving and to look while crossing the street.

What Are the Implications of Pokemon GO in Nigeria?

As of now, Pokemon GO is not available in Nigeria. Thing is, we’re not sure if we should be sad or heave a sigh of relief. Considering the previously mentioned negative reports, I’m not entirely sure it would be such a good thing if we got this game here.

Traffic would be my first consideration in this case, but I’ll agree that not every city in Nigeria is burdened with a terrible traffic situation. But imagine with me people in lagos all looking into their phone screens, walking around town trying to catch Pokemon and have Pokemon battles. Personally, I believe we have enough mad people, and no one is really looking to be considered one.

My major concern is safety. I mean, there are so many risks – kidnapping, robbery, accidents – at play here. Are we willing to throw caution to the wind in order to truly be able to play this game?

And who will even play the game? Nigerian parents are mostly too strict to let their children go wandering of to unknown places in search of digital objects, and Nigerian adults who may be interested are too busy. Personally, I will try to download this game if it ever becomes available for us in the app store, but I don’t see it picking up as much speed in terms of popularity in Nigeria as it did in America. Maybe my mindset is very Nigerian, but this is just my opinion. What do you think? Will Ppokemon GO successfully break into the Nigerian market? Will you download and actively play it if it becmes available for download?

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  • Great post I must say. I thought I was the only one getting the groove of the game. As a developer I see more than just the game in view, I admire the technology behind it and would surely want to learn how it works. So for me, I’d download it as soon as it is available in Nigeria!

  • Simdie Onuora

    So i’m in on this post late, better late than never though, First let me touch on the general safety concerns of having this game in lagos, Theres no outdoor activity that doesn’t demand safety anywhere in the world, all the vices youve highlighted above is not peculiar to lagos, also for every new tech theres a Pro and a Con, Like Tobi pointed out, Pokemon Go by itself is not the selling point of the game, its the tech behind it (Augmented Reality), this is the first of its kind and believe you me, with the economic projectiles made on augmented reality after Pokemon Go’s hype fades out, a lot of other applications are going to be built and aimed towards Augmented/Virtual reality. This foreseeable future is inevitable and my fear is as usual, Nigeria would play ‘catch-up’ because we’ve failed to see or note these possibilities early. Again safety cannot be over emphasized but Pokemon Go is bigger than what Nigerians see as ‘just a game’, Pokemons are spawned everywhere, if its not safe for you to Facebook while on the road in Oshodi then why should you play Pokemon Go there?, When you are at a Pokestop (most of which are statues on side walks or locations like churches, restaurants) stock up on your Pokeballs, Incense e.t.c and get to wherever it is safer to search for Pokemons. with the business and economic benefits of this technology, the possibilities and advancements this could bring to any country is too big to pass up on. Like I say in most forums Nintendo is only the first, watch whats coming next with Mark Zuckerberg!!. Oh and BTW niantic labs is planning the launch of PokemonGo bracelets, so people dont stay fixated on their phones, the bracelets prompts you and stuff.

  • Adedamola

    Yello All,
    I see opportunities for the game to develop the lost family interaction time the average Nigerian family has lost. It will be an opportunity for families to gather together, walk the streets, walk with pets in a bid to catch pokemons. I see opportunities for retails stores to use their location as pokestops to drive foot prints, I see mobile operators benefiting from in-app payments / purchases.

    You can link to download the apk here