The Pokémon Company, the Nintendo subsidiary responsible for the increasingly responsible task of brand management, production, marketing and licensing of the Pokémon franchise, has announced its working on a new app. However, rather than a successor to Pokémon Go, the viral augmented reality smartphone game that catapulted the Pokémon franchise back into the international limelight, this one is supposed to help users sleep better. And not only better – but more enjoyably.
Pokémon Go turned simple walking around into ‘entertainment’ as players tried to locate and capture Pokémon projected onto the real world via their smartphone camera and screen. This time, said Tsunekazu Ishihara, chief executive of The Pokémon Company, the aim is even more ambitious. The team behind the app “want to turn sleep into entertainment”.
Few solid details on what exactly the game will consist of and be played were revealed but a few intriguing titbits were dropped to spark interest and keep everyone guessing. The app will track the sleep of players with the data points gathered somehow used in the gameplay. It is believed that the game, currently being referred to as Pokémon Sleep, will represent some kind of hybrid cross-over between the entertainment of a games app and health tech.
Exactly how the gamification of sleep might work hopefully won’t keep us up at night until the app’s launch, which will be at some point next year. The company is said to hope that the game will also attract users who are not typically ‘gamers’ but are interested in health, fitness and ‘wellness’ and would be the typical target audience of apps in that space.
‘Health tech’ apps that track and direct physical activity or physical metrics are one of the most popular categories of smartphone apps. Over the past few years they have developed in sophistication but there are worries that users do not always appreciate their limitations and overly rely on information or readings they provide.
Health apps are based on very general principles that don’t take personal circumstances or information into consideration and should not be relied upon as ‘medical’ or health and fitness advice. They can be considered as providing handy guidelines but used as a standalone source of information or as a substitute for a qualified professional.
However, the vast amount of health and fitness data that health tech apps and devices are now gathering and sending to huge Cloud-hosted databases is a hugely valuable resource for AI-based algorithms. That data and increasingly sophisticated algorithms is being increasingly used in research and helping to lead to new breakthroughs in medicine and treatment.