If you haven’t already heard of it, then you’ve probably been living under a rock for the past couple of weeks, as an insanely popular new virtual reality computer game has taken the world by storm. Pokemon Go is essentially a game installed onto your mobile phone, but is based on virtual reality. In order to collect points or advance further into the game, players are required to collect Pokemon, just like in the popular TV programme/old versions of the game. What makes the game stand out is that the Pokemons are dotted around via GPS so can be found anywhere. The only way to catch them is to go out looking with your phone and physically locate those pesky Pokemon yourself. This element of the game is the reason the creators have been praised; for getting avid gamers out of the house and doing exercise they probably don’t know they’re doing. It is also, on the other hand, the reason several people have been seen gathering together and displaying strange behaviour in public. But hey, each to their own. With the craze showing no signs of slowing at the moment, and the fact that all the best Pokemon hide outside, we can’t help but wonder how much mobile phone data is really being used by these crazy people? And is it draining your much needed battery?
Surprisingly, it has been revealed that the game does not use as much data as people may think, but for those that may be concerned, T-Mobile have snapped up the opportunity to offer their free mobile data to Pokemon go players, thriving off the fact that some of them just can’t say no to that Charizard, no matter what the cost. If you are on T-Mobile, playing the Pokemon Go game no longer counts towards using your data allowance. The idea of the promotion is to thank people for their custom with on trend new promotions, and according to president John Legere, there is nothing hotter and further on trend than Pokemon Go at the moment. They have effectively unleashed Pokemon Go for free to all of their customers for a whole year (by which time you can put your money on it that the craze will have well and truly died). At the moment, this T-mobile offer appears to only be available in America, where it seems them lot are even more Pokemon Go crazed than we are. Of course, for us Brits there is always the option of turning off our data roaming and relying solely on public wifi, but what happens when there’s a Squirtle right in front of you and the McDonald’s connection is letting you down?!
According to some very specific research, data usage from the Pokemon game is pretty minimal, and it takes 10MB of data per one hour of usage. So to use up just 1GB you would have to play the game for 7 hours straight for 15 days, which is pretty good commitment to the cause.
If it’s not data or your dignity that Pokemon Go is stealing from you, then it’s your battery life. People are constantly using their smartphones in day to day life and so mobile phone battery is gold dust anyway. Now that Pokemon go has been introduced into the mix, catching a few Pikachu’s on your lunch break could mean your phone won’t survive the day. A quick test from Cnet revealed that just 30 minutes of gaming dropped battery life by 15%, in comparison to 30 minutes of essential Facebook scrolling, which robbed you of just 5% battery. A handy tip to Iphone and some Android users; activate your low-power mode before playing, the game will still run the same (unless you care about using a super bright screen to improve your skills). Cnet proved that an iphone 6s (probably everyone’s gadget of choice) will run down in under seven hours of gaming, and that’s only if Pokemon Go is the only app running on your phone – which is unlikely.
As the craze continues to grow, we wonder when it will begin to die down, and whether it has opened many doors in the virtual reality world, and when will we receive more, free mobile games like this? Will mobile phones eventually adapt accordingly? Will we eventually be unable to distinguish the difference between virtual reality and (real?) reality? Who knows!