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Three things I learned by going to a Pokémon Go pub crawl

It may be the first augmented reality hit, but serious players turn off that aspect of the game.

Niantic Labs

Foolishly spending most of the last few weeks with my family, I missed the early days of the Pokémon Go craze.

Ina Fried for Recode

Intrigued, though, I was more than eager to take part in this week’s Pokémon Pub Crawl in San Francisco to get a crash course in what everyone else had been up to.

I found it not just a good way to learn the game mechanics, but also to pick up some other big lessons from the record-breaking game phenomenon.

Here are my biggest takeaways:

  1. Pokémon may be the first big augmented reality hit, but serious players turn off the AR feature. It’s a drain on the battery and makes it harder to hunt the virtual varmints. While that may be true, it does raise the question of just how big a leap forward Pokémon Go is for augmented reality. (Even with the AR view turned off, it’s still a form of augmented reality, basing game play on one’s actual movements and location.)
  2. It’s an online game without a means for interacting with other players, but people actually long for a social component. Most of the people I talked to came to the event to engage with other humans rather than Pokémon creatures.
  3. San Francisco’s buses and streetcars make a very efficient way to visit lots of Pokéstops. Often criticized for their slower-than-the-slowest-car speed, the city’s public transit vehicles actually work well for Pokémon Go.

For more on the event, here is the Facebook Live piece I did, interviewing several of those who turned out for the meet-up.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.

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