A new study posted in the Journal of the American Heart Association concluded that Pokémon Go is good for your health. Specifically, it significantly increased the physical activity of the players.
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game that is available for Android and iOS mobile devices (tablets and phones). The game initially launched on July 6th, 2016 in a few countries, but is now available all around the world. It was insanely popular at the time and brought in a host of new and old Pokémon fans. Several studies about the game have been published since its release.
This study involved 167 volunteers from around the globe. For three weeks, before Pokémon Go’s initial launch, the volunteers were asked to record their step counts through the iPhone’s Health app. They continued to record their steps for another three weeks after Pokémon Go launched. All of the volunteers were over 18, but the average age was 25. Almost half of the participants were women and nearly all of the participants downloaded Pokémon Go less than a week after it launched. The scientists discovered that the participants walked (on average) an extra 2000 steps per day. That equated to a 34.8% increase in daily physical activity. Additionally, more players walked over 10,000 steps per day after they started playing. Interestingly enough, the study found that those who were overweight or tended to be more stationary had the biggest increase in overall physical activity.
It’s unsurprising that Nintendo would greenlight a game like Pokémon Go. Nintendo representatives have stated in the past that the company is focused on a variety of health issues. It’s one of the reasons why we saw an increase in physically active games when the Wii first launched. However, none have been as successful as Pokémon Go. The overall increase in physical activity of Pokémon Go players is a huge step forward. Unfortunately, the study only covered the first three weeks after Pokémon Go launched. The number of Pokémon Go players has significantly declined since then. So, while the study’s results are promising, it doesn’t mean that all Pokémon Go players will instantly be healthier.
Pokémon Go has continued to evolve since it first launched. A second generation and shiny Pokémon were introduced into the game. Recently, Niantic updated the game that prevents cheaters from finding rare Pokémon. However, Pokémon Go is not the only augmented reality game that encourages players to exercise. Niantic's first game, Ingress, is similar to Pokémon Go and is available for mobile devices.