A new Pokemon GO study emerges that calculates the number of steps taken by the mobile game’s players, with an estimate of an unbelievable 144 billion steps.
Whether Pokemon GO is seen as one of the best multiplayer games of 2016 or one of the most disappointing games of 2016, it’s hard to deny the impact that the Niantic-developed mobile title has had. Above all else, it’s been interesting seeing the the game’s players spending such a prolonged period of time outside in order to catch Pokemon and visit PokeStops, and there is now some quantitative data to show exactly what impact this has caused. According to a recent scientific study, Pokemon GO players have taken over 144 billion steps.
The study in question, which was published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, was named “Influence of Pokemon GO on Physical Activity.” This study was initially started to try and assess the importance of “novel mobile games” that introduce gameplay elements into the real world. Specifically focusing on Pokemon GO‘s impact on physical activity, the study then took data from 32,000 Microsoft Band users over a period of three months, finding the game’s players through search engine data.
Measuring physical activity of users through accelerometers, the study found that Pokemon GO has helped users dramatically increase their physical activity over the space of 30 days. “Particularly engaged users” (those who make large numbers of search queries about the game) saw a 25% increase in activity levels, or by an average of 1473 steps per day. Overall, this led to an estimated conclusion that Pokemon GO has “added a total of 144 billion steps to US physical activity.”
The study also discussed Pokemon GO‘s ability to transcend barriers such as age, weight status, and prior activity levels, where other apps have not been as broadly successful. In particular, the study made note of Pokemon GO‘s success at reaching low activity populations, while most health-focused apps instead were only truly successful with parts of the population that were already active. This impact certainly matches what developer Niantic has revealed about the game, with users apparently having walked 8.7 billion kilometers.
Of course, this is not a definitive study on the matter, and although 32,000 subjects is a significant number for most studies, in pales in comparison to the millions of Pokemon GO users. That said, the numbers given in this study are still incredibly impressive, and it certainly correlates with what many suspect Pokemon GO has been capable of. After all, without the game many players would not have been around to partake in life-changing moments, such as those Pokemon GO players who saved those trapped in a warehouse fire.
2016 was certainly a huge year for Pokemon GO, although it remains to be seen whether the game can continue its popularity far into 2017 and beyond. At the very least, there is a chance of the game receiving some critical recognition, with multiple nominations at the GDC Awards 2017. However, the game’s lasting legacy may well be its influence on getting people out and active.
Pokemon GO is out now for iOS and Android devices.