The augmented reality (AR) based smartphone game Pokémon Go is spreading like a fire globally. Researchers have now figured health benefits that such games can bring for its users.
According to the researchers, Pokémon Go stimulates substantial amounts of physical activity in many likely-otherwise sedentary game players without intending to.
"We might call this stealth 'exergame' programming and we have a lot to learn about how to achieve this!" said Tom Baranowski, Professor of Pediatrics from Baylor College of Medicine in Texas.
The combination of AR technology, geocaching and other novel techniques to create innovative active video games (AVGs) has potential personal and public health implications, the study noted.
The team identified many lessons from GPD-based Pokémon Go in which players can log hours of walking as they physically chase the animated Pokémon creatures based on video images displayed on their smart phones.
"Game developers could then use this information to create new games that would be both fun to play and promote beneficial physical activity," the authors noted in a paper that appeared on the Games for Health Journal website.
The game uses GPS to track a player's location and overlays "monsters" that can be hunted in that location on his mobile screen. The captured monsters can then be trained for battles.
The massive popularity of the AR game has broken many a record. While on a daily basis, it is being used twice as much as the Facebook app on Android, the popular app from Niantic Labs has the most first-week downloads since Apple launched its iOS app store eight years ago.
During its first week, Pokemon GO users spent 75 minutes per day playing, versus only 35 minutes on the Facebook app, media reported. The augmented reality game has also become the most downloaded mobile app in its first week of release in the history of the app store.