Earlier this year, on its 20th anniversary, the giant Japanese entertainment company The Pokémon Company updated its memorable ‘90s tagline in a commercial during the Super Bowl: Instead of the cheesy but recognizable “Gotta catch ‘em all,” Pokémon’s new motto became “I can do this.”
Now, with the launch of the hit mobile game Pokémon Go, it’s clear why the company revised Pokémon’s tagline to emphasize the first-person voice. The app uses common features of smartphones—cameras, touch screens, and geolocation in particular—to allow users to become virtual Pokémon trainers, moving and gesturing physically instead of just punching buttons on a controller or device. Pokémon “appear” in the augmented reality, and are available for capture as a player walks down the street, or sometimes even in their apartments. It’s a more immersive version of the game that many fans have hoped would come to fruition.
As it turns out, it’s what Nintendo shareholders have been hoping for, too. Pokémon Go is, so far, a certified financial hit. Launched last week, the free app rose to the top of the most-downloaded charts in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand in just one day. (The game isn’t available in other countries yet, but it will be soon.) One analysis showed that the app now has more active daily users on Android than Tinder, and was pulling even with Twitter.