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These are the people playing Pokemon Go

As you may have noticed, we've published a non-trivial number of articles recently on the new game Pokemon Go. It's a little different from our usual Android coverage, but there are several good reasons for it. The most important is simple — there are so. many. people. playing this game and looking for instructions on how to use the individual features in the game.

Who are these people, though?

If you ask folks who aren't playing the game, you'll undoubtedly hear something negative about the folks currently obsessed with Pokemon Go.

While there is certainly nothing wrong with not liking a game — especially one that isn't really a part of your personal culture and wasn't something you enjoyed while growing up — a lot of the comments I saw about what the assumed demographic for this game was seemed off. I couldn't disagree with these folks without something more than anecdotal evidence, so I went to Baltimore's beautiful Inner Harbor at sunset to see who was playing this game.

Pokemon Go players

This couple decided to take a walk around the harbor after work, and have been playing Pokemon Go from Day 1. The guy noted that this was his favorite area to walk for the game because he loves the designs for the water-type Pokemon a lot, and would rather catch those. This isn't someone living in his Mom's basement, he has a job and a healthy relationship and a life.

Pokemon Go players

These two were angrily commenting on how frequently Niantic's servers were going down when I stopped them to talk. The 31-year-old to the right grew up with Pokemon, and has had a lot of fun getting out and exploring the city a little more than usual with her friends.

There isn't a single person in this photo younger than 22, and all of them were wandering around playing together. They caught my attention when one of them shouted "Oh, shit! There's a Dratini over here, son!" And no less than 15 people who had been playing the game in the surrounding area wandered over to catch it. All adults, having a good time with friends, and sharing the game with others. A woman who had just left a bar with a friend that was playing the game explained that she thought no one over 18 was playing this game, but seeing nearly everyone in the Harbor playing made her want to install it on the spot.

Pokemon Go players

This couple had been walking around the Baltimore Convention Center when I arrived in the city and made their way to the Inner Harbor because of all the Lure Modules that had been installed on all the PokeStops in the area. The man on the right is 51 years old, and has been playing video games "from all the way back in the day" with his friends. He says he's never seen anything quite like this, and loves how amazingly diverse the players out in the real world are.

Not one of these people could tell me what a Nexus phone was.

These are people I found willing to let a random stranger take their photo within a 20-minute span. The number of people excitedly playing this game is incredible, and quickly put to rest any arguments about the quality or age of person playing Pokemon Go. As I left the Harbor I saw three police officers on bikes. Two of them were cautiously watching as people ran between the Pokestops, unsure of what to think of the activity. The third explained out loud that this actually started during his shift on Friday, and there had never been so many people in this area in the evening before without an event happening somewhere nearby.

By far the most amazing part of all this is how few of these people ever go to tech blogs for news about anything. Not one of these people could tell me what a Nexus phone was, or which Samsung phone got the latest updates. These are people playing a game, having fun, and looking to share those experiences with other people. Personally, I'm looking forward to giving those people new things to read.

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter

63 Comments
  • I've met so many people that last couple days. I taught a 40 something married couple how to battle a gym and what lures are for. I'm going out to the local downtown with a bunch of friends tonight to play which is something I wouldn't normally do (I work a lot and am usually too tired to go out after work). This game is great and even the amount of haters is incredibly small.
  • It is funny that a small group of commenters on this site seem to think that their opinions matter more than everyone else's, because THEY don't want to read an article about Pokemon Go it shouldn't clutter THEIR news feed. It is crazy that people seem to have forgotten how to ignore something if they are uninterested.
  • Like you when you read their comments?
  • My opinion happens to line up with those running the site, I try not to get in a tizzy when that doesn't happen. Edit, also I had a great time trolling the cry babies yesterday, I'm tired today though so let em cry. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Actually, my opinion is more important than yours. You fail to realize that.
  • Finally, justification for 30 Pokémon articles! I'm satisfied Posted via the Android Central App
  • Not really... Posted via the Android Central App
  • I've explained the game to reporters, anchors, and others at the TV station, even after having no less than four news stories about Pokemon GO in our newscasts (including the robbery and dead body stories). I am the nerd of the station, when the engineers aren't around I'm considered tech support, and nearly everyone had installed it. My ops manager poked his head in the edit bay yesterday to tell me there was a Scyther nearby. I caught a Caterpie clinging to his pantleg later that afternoon.
  • Thanks for this, will link to this so that can people can shut up about this being a "kids game"!
  • Russell this is great, thank you. I totally understand if someone is not interested in the game, the reality is it is not a very compelling game, but to write off everyone who plays the game as losers with the mentality of children is insulting to a huge number of people who are playing it. I pull out my phone and play it when I walk my dog, I still don't pull out my phone when I am running or hiking, and I am still able to enjoy the outdoors in all instances. People will use any excuse these days to other or demean other people just to make themselves feel superior, it is sad really.
  • I agree. An Android website that is devoting 90% of its articles to it is pretty pathetic though.
  • Hear Hear...I have never seen something covered so extensively. I'm over-saturated.
  • Not really, Android Central is here to make money, the amount of people who are actively seeking the information that they've been putting out has to be huge. It's the same mentality that they have when they pump out a dozen articles about the new Galaxy Phone, or when the Verge spams their front page with 20 Apple articles during Apple Day. Is it a little different than what AC usually covers, sure! But if people are seeking out the info then there's no reason for AC not to put it out there. It's so easy NOT to click on an article if you aren't interested. It's a mobile game, this is a site about mobile phones. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Idiot
  • Idiot² Posted via the Android Central App
  • Translation:-Russell, Codius wants to continue suckling on your Pokemon teat Posted via the Android Central App
  • This is awesome. Thanks Russell! Posted via the Android Central App on the Moto X Pure Edition
  • I saw a family on a college campus walking together and catching pokemon. College campuses and city centers tend to have a lot of pokestops but college campuses usually are very pedestrian friendly so I think they're ideal for this game. Anyway, the kids were really excited when they saw a pokemon and they were eager to show their dad and mom what they caught. It was really cute and it made me smile. It's a cool activity for families to spend time together. There's nothing wrong with grown ups playing a video game.
  • What does this say about mobile gaming? I'm a firm believer that mobile gaming has not yet "grown up" and found it's way. Its currently mostly an attempt at a PC or console experience pushed into a small device, or its a casual game that has no actual depth. Pokemon GO is a huge leap into a new market (yes, I know about Ingress). Mobile gaming that actually excels from the Mobile part. I hope more revolutionary steps like this continue. I have tried Pokemon GO, and I like it, though I have no clue what I am doing. Imagine AR component to geocaching... now that would be cool.
  • I agree with this completely, though I'd argue that there isn't a whole lot of depth here. That being said, given the nature of mobile I'm not sure a game with a ton of depth is entirely appropriate, needed, or wanted. Posted via the Android Central App
  • But also keep in mind that the game just released a few days ago. There is a lot of untapped potential here because they have not even introduced real-time battles with people, and trading. Look at the masses and how popular it got in such a short time (AC's 427 articles attributed 14% of the game spike) and yet there are already major updates being planned for it. Expect more depth to be added.
  • The untapped potential seems to be the unprecedented level of access that Niantic has to your Google account. Unlocked Marshmallow Nexus 6 on Verizon. I'm a happy guy.
  • My comment must have riled you up, Russel. Lol ;)
  • I was inspired, not gonna lie :)
  • Well, if the game helps fat people get fitter, then maybe it's not all stupid.
  • I haven't been nearly as vocal as some, but I maintain my stance. While I personally do not care for the game or have any interest, it's clear that it's a big deal to a lot of people. We get it - lots of people are playing. This has never been part of the debate (for me at least). I'm glad people are enjoying it. More power to them. Everyone needs something. Some people, however, used to come to this site for Android-specific news and information. In the past couple days, such news and information has be sparse to say the very least. Thus, the complaints from those coming here for anything other than Pokemon have cropped up. I mean, while trying to be respectful here, the sheer number of articles you all have churned out on this is laughable. You say people are looking for information on individual features of the game, and I'm sure they are. But you know what that sounds like to me? It almost sounds like they're looking for a guide, rather than a sea of disjointed articles. If you all put together the best Pokemon Go guide the world has ever seen and stopped flooding your site with all the minutia of the game, I'd applaud you and think job well done. But it doesn't take a lot of foresight to see why you're doing it this way, and I'll just leave it at that. I think some people have been so vocal about their dislike of this coverage because what other option do they have? They can get mad and never come here again, and you'll never know, nor would you care if you did. You all will still be here, not necessarily giving the best coverage to the genre you purport to be a central stop for, but instead covering the ever-living hell out of whatever will bring the most traffic at any given time. You can excuse it all you like, but the method by which this is all being covered speaks for itself. Again, no Pokemon hate from me here. Have a ball with it and watch where you're walking. My personal complaint has nothing to do with the game itself.
  • There is a larger guide for Pokemon Go, but typically there are few people who are willing to power through over two thousand words, even on topics they're interested in. The larger audience dropping in from search wants to get answers to their questions quickly, and that only happens when the headline and content addresses it specifically. Obviously that's a different experience from folks who come reading from the front page or through feeds, and obviously nobody at AC wants to alienate those readers, but on the flip side, it would be irresponsible to ignore the demand for this content. As for overstepping the scope of the site, I disagree. It may be a tough pill to swallow, but Pokemon Go is indisputably the biggest thing happening with Android right now. Lucky for you, the ebb and flow of these things is familiar. The excitement and content will taper off after a bit.
  • Exactly, this. I would NEVER read a comprehensive guide for a game. I haven't yet played the game but AC do not have much of a choice in this. They have to pay their bills too.
  • Wow dude, you put a lot of effort into a Pokemon comment...
  • It's all over. I can't open GSS reader or Feedly without 70 articles about a children's cartoon game that gives losers something to do. People need girlfriends. Holy hell.
  • There's a hole in your statement because guys are doing this with their girlfriends...even getting laid apparently because of it.
  • Banging a fat asian pig is more like bestiality than getting laid.
  • Little rascals 2k edition Posted via the Android Central App
  • While I was (and still am) a fan of the original games, I don't find Pokemon Go to be very fun. I have nothing against people who love it, I just find the battling to be unfulfilling and the lack of story disappointing. I guess I pictured something more like the original games with AR wild encounters. Posted via the Android Central App
  • While we're at it let's have a poll on Pokémon Go for your loyal readers...
    A) Don't care about it, won't install and would rather not see articles every 30 mins
    B) Indifferent, the hype will die naturally and don't mind reading articles no matter how frequent. May or may not install
    C) Nice game, have installed / would install and play whenever I have the time. Keep the posts coming
    D) Pokémon Go enthusiast here, can't get enough of it. Everytime I check AC and there's a new article on Pokémon Go my heart is filled and overflowing with joy Posted via the Android Central App
  • How about F) Love the game but would prefer to see less about it on one of my favorite Android blogs. Just the same, I wouldn't want to see my favorite singer bake a cake on stage at a concert. I love cake, and I may even watch a cooking show to learn how to make one, but when I'm at a concert I expect to hear live music. When I'm on an Android Blog, I expect to see Android News.
  • I agree with you on this issue. However it may be easy to be blindsided sometimes when you're in the vocal minority. AC has been eager in the past to know if we'd be buying the new and shiny phone just announced and go ahead and tell us how to do simple things like change default keyboard and numerous other articles on said new device. In the same vein, I ask they do the same while inundating us with the barrage of Pokemon Go articles. Posted via the Android Central App
  • I think the hard truth here is that perhaps this blog is simply not suited to our tastes and interests. And there is no point in arguing about whether or not AC is right or wrong for the articles they have been posting. Instead we should simply move on to another blog that is more in line with the type of coverage we are looking for. For me it has always been Android Police and Android Central, but lately I've found that Android Police is much more relevant to me.
  • I agree you should see Android news on an Android blog, but Pokemon Go isn't outside that scope as your example suggests. At the top of the home page is a big ol' section for apps, and Pokemon Go is a sea change on that front.
  • Just admit it, you guys need the money (from the website hits) to pay for MrMobile or whatever outrageously extravagant purchase Kevin made with the MoNa credit card. :)
  • Tesla's ain't cheap!
  • I can't believe how many people are upset with the Pokémon articles LMAO. If an article doesn't interest you then just don't read or comment on it. I would hate to see how some of these people would actually deal with real life problems. If your going to delete the app over it then just delete it.
    Why even comment your going to delete the app? Do you expect the editors to beg you to stay lol? I hope all these articles weed out all the whiners and cry babies on this website. Posted via the AT&T Note 5
  • Goodbye PokemonCentral! You won't STOP, so I gotta quit you. You've made it blatantly obvious that you're simply trendwhoring for fadclick$$$, while other more reputable sites like AndroidPolice stick to their android-MOSTLY guns. This, combined with your Samsung/ConsumerReports apology posts (samplesizelol!), phone case ads littering the feed, and political posts, make it easy to leave. Only thing I'll miss are Jerry's unapologetic PORN posts. (Removing this site from my Feedly RSS list (yes, really). BYE. *door-hit-my-butt-on-the-way-out*)
  • Bye, Felicia! Posted via the Android Central App
  • You and Phil could learn a thing or two from Community Manager James Falconer in showing a little empathy toward your users. Better yet just take the high road and let people vent instead of this dismissive, disrespectful and defensive posture.
  • You're not wrong.
  • Russell I read that same reply you gave to another user and I couldn't stop laughing. If I was going to delete this app then I would just delete it without a comment. As I just stated I hope these articles weed out the whiners and cry babies. Also the arguing over who's smartphone is the best is childish. As long as your phone meets your personal needs who cares? Posted via the AT&T Note 5
  • Is that what you said to your toes the last time you saw them as a child?
  • Russel is a God... favorite comeback.. Posted via the Android Central App
  • Calling The Dude some random chicks name is a comeback?
  • You might be too uptight to actually be human. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=bye%20felicia I didn't know what it meant either, but now that I do it's hilarious.
  • It's a comeback for people who suck at comebacks.
  • I personally have not seen anyone playing it. Maybe I'm not paying enough attention to notice or simply don't care. I never was really into it as a kid and I dont really care for it now as a 23 year old. I only play games on my phone occasionally anyway. My brother who is an avid Xbox and PC gamer doesn't even care about the game so maybe we just didn't catch this "disease." As for the articles, people just scroll past them if you're not interested. Even though I'm not, I have been looking at some just to see what all the commotion is about but still doesn't make me want to download it. I've actually enjoyed reading the comments on them lol Nexus 5X or 7 2013
  • How could u not see anyone playing? I see them everywhere just go outside to Parrish, grocery store, even in Walmart check out lanes Posted via the Android Central App
  • I don't know honestly, I live in a small Alabama city. I don't doubt that people are playing it, I just haven't seen them lol Nexus 5X or 7 2013
  • I'm 33 years old, was 13 in 1996, and if it wasn't related to girls or music, I wasn't into it. Now my boss is 26, he plays it and a co-worker on her twenties. In Lakewood Ohio where I live, EVERYONE is playing that game. Personally I don't care. Does the constant coverage from AC bother me, slightly, does it bother me enough to stop visiting the site, no. I just scroll past the BS, then hit my recent apps button and close it. Personally, I don't care how old your are, I think a lot more productive things can be done with that time, but these people have the right to do what they want with their phones. They don't bother me. I just hope they stay safe. It's only a matter of time before the pedophiles and kidnappers catch on I don't even have time to do half the things I want to do on my phone. Have 4 games on my s7 and don't play any. And my PS4 is my primary choice for playing games Posted via the Android Central App running on my Galaxy S7
  • Russell, wanna do a semi-formal Pokemon GOInner Harbor meetup sometime soon?
  • Absolutely! Drop me a DM in the forum and we'll get together.
  • Spinning it back to Android: "By far the most amazing part of all this is how few of these people ever go to tech blogs for news about anything. Not one of these people could tell me what a Nexus phone was, or which Samsung phone got the latest updates. These are people playing a game, having fun, and looking to share those experiences with other people. Personally, I'm looking forward to giving those people new things to read." Normal people don't care about the stuff we care about. They just want their phones to work - to be able to call and message their friends, to be able to play their favorite games like Pokemon Go. OS updates don't matter to them as long as they can do what they want to do on their devices. TouchWiz - irrelavant. Nexus - irrelevant.
  • The absolute best part of this entire Pokemon GO craze is that it actually allows people to be social without having to be stuck in a room separated from actual society. I think this game is great, and I would hope everyone would at least try it once. I'm glad it's reported on AC because I visit this site a lot, and would not really have tried it myself otherwise if I did not read some of the articles about it on AC. Great job guys!!!
  • This must be an American thing. What other countries is it available? I am in Korea and a teacher and I haven't seen any students playing it. Well, answered my own question" "This app is incompatible with all of your devices". Thank God!
  • It's an epidemic in the Baltimore suburbs. Everyone's driving around in the middle night in Columbia slowing down and stopping. The neighborhoods in Elkridge are full of families walking around. Just got home from old town Ellicott City and it was like a giant festival of 20 and 30-somethings. Easily a thousand people. Never seen anything like it. Like a millennial zombie apocalypse ha. Everyone wandering around, laying on the grass, staring at their phones - but still jovial and engaged with each other. I'm just a few years too old. I was getting drunk and high in highschool/college when Pokémon was a thing. But I'm addicted to this game. I don't exactly know what I'm doing, but it's incredibly fun. My friends and I became geocaching crackheads a couple years back. It's just innocent fun and it gets people outside and walking. Before this, the neighborhoods of Howard County were ghost towns. You never saw kids outside playing anymore. When I was a kid in the 80s and 90s, we dropped our back packs off after school and came home at dark for dinner. Today, those children are rare in Maryland. They are actually called "free range children". Parents had to start giving their children "free range" cards to carry because CPS kept picking up kids playing half a mile from their house. True story. Google "free range parents Montgomery County MD". Hate to sound like an old fart at 34 years old, but things have drastically changed in last decade or two. It's good to see people getting out in the fresh air in droves (myself included!). It's also nice to see the light-hearted nature that is bringing so many people together in a particular moment in history where all we see in the media is death and violence.
  • I know many people play this game but how many people who actually have a life and are highly successful play? I think people are easily sold on fads. People feel they are losing out if they do not do what is popular. One day we will all be old and find that we wasted most of our life glued to our phones and didn't really enjoy life. I guess being glued to ones phone is no different than being glued to the TV. There are so many security leaks with this app. You have no idea of who is tracking your every movement. We were told we are not even allowed to do this in our office due to security issues.