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Why Pokemon Go is sending Nintendo’s stocks soaring

Two men (L) play Pokemon Go on their smartphones outside of Nintendo's flagship store, July 11, 2016 in New York City. The success of Nintendo's new smartphone game, Pokemon Go, has sent shares of Nintendo soaring.   Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

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There are fads, there are crazes, and then there’s Pokemon Go. 

The game last week became the top downloaded, top grossing app in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia.  

It’s installed on as many Android phones as Tinder.  It has pretty much as many daily active users as Twitter.

If you aren’t playing Pokemon Go right now, someone near you is. 

Look for someone frozen, holding their phone up in front of their face, wildly sliding their fingers on the screen.

The idea is you use the real time map to locate monsters and the equipment needed to catch them, and then you run off in search of them wherever they may be.  You throw a little ball at them to capture them.  You can collect the monsters.  Your monsters can battle other people’s monsters. 

That’s it.  That’s what increased Nintendo’s  stock price by 25 percent.  

“People are going crazy over this because it’s a confluence of factors, right place, right time, right thing,” Julie Ask said, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “On one hand they’re tapping into the nostalgia of millennials who spend a lot of time on their mobile phones.”  Millennials grew up with the Pokemon and Nintendo has not allowed the brand to have a serious mobile presence until now. 

The game is also inherently social, with users able to meet at various locations to battle for local supremacy.

While the game is free, in app purchases are available.  Given the volume of players, even a small percentage who make these purchases can create significant revenue.

If Nintendo makes equally good use of its vast trove of intellectual property on mobile, the growth could be significant, Christine Arrington said, senior analyst at I.H.S. 

Pokemon Go also possesses a technical prowess – despite widespread complaints about bugginess – in that it takes advantage of all the things that smart phones can do: mapping, video, geolocating, and networking.

 “We haven’t seen a lot of games really taking advantage of that, really getting people walking around, out of their homes,” Arrington said. 

This has perhaps been to a fault.  People have stopped in traffic, they’ve kayaked into the middle of bays. 

Some thieves have even lured players into robberies

In the end, a game about catching monsters has caught … us. 

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