Commentary

Pokemon Wants To Go To Bed With You

As if you’re not already racking up too much screen time, The Pokemon Company yesterday announced plans to launch a mobile app called Pokemon Sleep that will engage you after you’ve hit the rack.

“For a few heady months in 2016, Pokemon Go transformed the morning commute for millions of people into a critter-hunting safari, populating the ordinary world with a reality-augmented menagerie of Pikachus, Charmanders and Eevies,” Tiffany May reminds us in the New York Times. “Now its creators hope to do the same to the nightly snooze.”

“Pokemon Go was one of the first games to use augmented-reality technology when it was introduced in July 2016. Before long, 28.5 million users were roaming the streets at odd hours, eyes glued to their smartphones, even stumbling into unexpected places,” May continues.

As for Pokemon Sleep, “the company shared few details on the app, but said it would track the amount of time players spend sleeping and when they wake up. Both of those data points will have an effect on game play,” Michelle Toh writes for CNN Business.

What the company did share was rife with references to the trademark. 

Pokemon Sleep “uses an embedded accelerometer to track your time sleeping and sends this information to your smartphone via Bluetooth. This new device, called the Pokemon Go Plus +, also has the same functions as the original Pokemon Go Plus, so you can use it to play Pokemon Go during the day as well as with Pokemon Sleep at night!” the company crows in a release.

“Pokemon, also known as Pocket Monsters in Japan, is a media franchise managed by The Pokemon Company, a Japanese consortium between Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. The franchise copyright is shared by all three companies, but Nintendo is the sole owner of the trademark,” according to  Wikipedia.

“Pokemon’s global appeal is reflected in the success of the movie ‘Pokemon Detective Pikachu,’ which has taken more than $120 million at box offices in North America. The move features the yellow Pikachu character -- often the face of Pokemon -- as a Sherlock Holmes-like crime-buster, complete with deerstalker,” writes Reuters’ Sam Nussey.

“The augmented-reality giant is promising to turn shuteye into entertainment but experts aren’t convinced about the gamification of sleep," reads the subhead to Dale Berning Sawa’s piece for the Guardian.

“In the way that junk-food outlets sponsoring the Olympics might, the concept of Pokemon Sleep makes [Katie Fischer of Circadian Sleep Coaching] uneasy: ‘It’s almost as if they’re trying to get around this idea that gaming is bad for sleep.’ Or, as one particularly cynical person put it on Twitter: ‘I will be downing three Benadryls every night once Pokemon Sleep drops, so I can join in on the fun,’” Sawa writes.

CNET’s Jackson Ryan runs down all of the reveals at yesterday’s press conference in Tokyo, writing: “Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO of the Pokemon Company, stood behind a PokeBall-shaped podium, made a number of ‘business announcements’ and, notably, discussed how the broadcast was in English, Japanese and Chinese -- signaling intentions to get Pokemon to a broader audience. A cavalcade of guest presenters then rolled through, offering up information on the latest products and services The Pokemon Company is offering up. It wasn’t riveting, but perhaps it set us up for the huge reveal: Pokemon Sleep.

“With the original 2016 hit mobile game, ‘we were able to take the simple human act of walking and turn it into entertainment for many people around the world,’ Ishihara said. ‘Everyone spends a large part of their life sleeping, and turning that into entertainment is our next challenge at Pokémon.’

“The concept of this game is for players to look forward to waking up every morning,” he added, Corinne Purtill reports for Quartz.

And that is just the beginning of Pokemon’s total domination of our conscious -- and unconscious -- lives, if the twitterverse is indeed reading this correctly.

“Pokemon Go
Pokemon Sleep
Pokemon Quit Smoking
Pokemon Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Pokemon Free and Accessible Birth Control
Pokemon Socialized Healthcare
Pokemon CO2 Emission Cap,” tweets McIntyre Rath.

“Y’all are gigglin about Pokemon sleep while Nintendo’s out here building a lifestyle brand and y’all are gunna be driving Pokémon cars with a little Pikachu animation as your electric engine charges and pokecoffee shops while your kids walk around with their hologram poke pals …,” tweets Arin Hanson.

Pokemon Nightmare, IOW.

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