‘Pokémon GO’ Craze Hits Streaming Platform Pandora

LONDON, ENGLAND — JULY 15: A player’s phone is decorated with Pokemon stickers as he plays Pokemon Go, a mobile game that has become a global phenomenon, the day after it’s UK release on July 15, 2016 in London, England. The app lets players roam using their phone’s GPS location data and catch Pokemon to train and battle.The game has added millions to the value of Nintendo, which part-owns the franchise. (Photo by Olivia Harris/Getty Images)

The other day I watched my six-year-old nephew and my (far older than that) partner rush toward a bus stop down the street. The excitement in their eyes was palpable, not to mention equal. The treasure they were so eagerly hunting? A Zubat.

Searches for the term jumped by roughly 1,200% last week.

Try as I might, there is no avoiding the Pokémon Go craze currently sweeping the world, indiscriminately reducing my adult friends to overgrown children ranting about what level they have reached, which creatures they have battled and trained, and how vast their territory has become. So I am not sure why I was surprised to learn that even on Pandora, a music streaming service, the effects of the craze could be felt. In fact, searches for the term jumped by roughly 1,200% last week.

And listeners are not left unsatisfied. A search for Pokémon on Pandora results in a variety of options, among them a station that serves up a nostalgic mélange of old-school video game music and Pokémon theme songs. In fact, the most popular tracks on the station are:

  1. Pokemon! Kimi Ni Sameta (Pokemon! I Choose You!)
  2. Tabidachi (The Adventure Begins)
  3. Jitensha De Go! (Go By Bicycle!)
  4. St. Anne Mata Gou (The Ship St. Anne)
  5. Mezase Pokemon Master (Wake Up, Pokemon Master!)

And who exactly is listening?

More men than women are searching for Pokémon on Pandora, though search volume for the term is up across the board. Graphic courtesy of Carson Forter/Pandora.

Well, men are more easily hooked than women, with the search volume amongst males at double that of females. More of the searches are coming from iOS users than from listeners on Android or Web. And children of all ages are getting involved. While most of the tuned-in listeners are fairly young — between the ages of 18 and 24 — the most marked increase in searches is amongst the over-55 crowd. (This is also anecdotally evidenced by a recent experience of overhearing my mother, a 60-year-old woman, give a highly succinct and entirely accurate explanation of how the game works).

I soon found myself wandering the streets in search of PokéStops and Squirtles, with little regard for how quickly I was powering through my international data plan.

Pokémon was first introduced by Nintendo in the mid-nineties. A video game on the portable Game Boy soon sparked a cultural phenomenon and franchise spanning trading cards, television series, films, and comic books. Twenty years later, a resurgence was foreshadowed with a Super Bowl ad in January celebrating the series. Pokémon Go is a location-based augmented reality app developed by Niantic, that has proved a great boon to Nintendo (whose stock price has near doubled since launch).

With that said, I am ashamed to admit that I too have succumbed to the impulse to “catch ’em all.” Having downloaded the app in the name of research, I soon found myself wandering the streets in search of PokéStops and Squirtles, with little regard for how quickly I was powering through my international data plan. I guess I’ll spend the rest of my summer holiday on airplane mode.


Originally published at www.forbes.com on July 22, 2016.

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