Unless you have been either cryogenically frozen or living under some kind of rock, you would have heard about a mobile game called Pokemon Go.
Developed by Niantic and published by Nintendo, the game is the closest thing out there to actually being a real-live Pokemon master.
In the process, Pokemon Go has shattered all sorts of records for a mobile game and is, in my opinion, the first truly successful augmented reality (AR) app.
In just a few weeks since launch, Pokemon Go has transcended from a simple mobile game about catching and rearing virtual creatures to a full-fledged cultural phenomenon, just like its predecessor nearly two decades prior.
The popularity of the game has lead to huge communities around the world forming around Pokemon Go, so much so that when a rare Pokemon appears, like this one in New York City’s Central Park, entire legions of fans gather.
At the moment though, the only way for these fans to communicate with each other is via third party messaging apps and social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp.
It would seem that a chat app within the game would be a no-brainer, right?
So far though, neither Niantic nor Nintendo have made any announcements regarding more integrated social features. All is not lost though as another gaming company has stepped in to help wayward Pokemon Go fans connect.
Enter billion dollar gaming giant, Razer and their latest release, a handy piece of software called Razer Go.
Razer Go is, in essence, a location-aware tool that lets users within a certain distance find and talk to other players. You can set the app to search at 3, 60 or 600 miles and the app will populate a list of people you can chat with. Razer Go is a fully featured app with support for private one-to-one messaging, public chat and team chat.
The company is also reportedly working on a feature that will let users create location specific chat rooms.
Razer CEO, Tan Min-Liang told me that that Razer Go was never a pipeline project per-say, rather rather it was just something that a Razer engineer slapped together. “One of our engineers actually hacked it together in a couple of days for our own use for Pokemon hunting and when we shared it with the Razer community, we had a massive uptake and our fans wanted it shared so we released it to the public.”
As far as Min was concerned, this was just a little side-project and just sort of something to share with the fans. In just a few short days however, Razer Go rocketed up the App Store charts becoming an essential tool for any Pokemon Go fan.
“Right now we’ve announced it for the web via web-app and on iOS for iPhones and it’s already processed millions of messages by Pokemon trainers all over the world!It’s also currently one of the highest ranked Pokemon Go tools on the iOS App Store with 4.5 stars out of 5,” Min tells me.
With the app gaining solid traction and with Pokemon Go slated to launch in even more markets, Razer is beginning to see Razer Go as more than just a side-project. Min and his team intend to continiue building on the platform with the Singapore-born CEO telling me that, “we have a whole lot of new features planned for RazerGo.”
Maybe this is how Team Rocket got their start?