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The Story Behind The Phenomenon That Is Pokémon Go

Pokémon GoPokémon Go is the newest trend to hit the masses, with a record breaking 10 million plus downloads in its first week, and more daily users than most social networking sites Twitter, Facebook, and even instant messenger WhatsApp falling behind the latest MMO.

So how did John Hanke achieve this phenomenon?

To know the roots, you have to go back 20 years to 1996, when John, still a student, created the first MMO (Massively Multiplayer Online game), ‘Meridian 59’, which he sold to 3DO; but this was just the beginning.

John launched Keyhole, which linked maps and aerial photography, and created the first GPS linked 3D map of the world. This was bought by Google, and with John’s help, was made into what we know as Google Earth today. That’s when John decided to make GPS based games.

In 2010, with a team that he assembled while working on Google Geo from 2004, John launched Niantic Labs as a startup funded by Google. He later created Niantic’s first geo-based MMO game, ‘ingress’, where all the activity is based on top of the real world. This would later be the foundation for Pokémon Go.

John then decided to build the game on user generated meeting points created by ingress players. He raised $25 million from Google, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company, and other investors from December last year to February, and built a team of more than 40 people to launch the game this year.

The game was subsequently launched on 6th July in USA, Australia and New Zealand. Since then, Nintendo has observed a rise in its share price by a stunning $12 billion, and the app itself generates more than $2 million daily in in-app purchases.

20 years is what it took John Hanke to realize his dream. And what a way to do it. Go catch ’em all!