Augmented Reality Games and Physical Activity: Exploring the Effect of Pokémon Go

Raymond Cheung ‘22

Figure 1. Augmented reality games can have a positive impact on their users.

When Pokemon GO was released in 2016, the world was captivated by the ability to capture Pokemon in the real world through augmented reality. An interesting consequence of the game’s popularity is that it promotes physical activity in its players. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Tokyo found that the game positively impacted the physical activity in older players over 40.

In the study, the researchers collected pedometer data from a total of 230 participants, 46 of which played Pokemon Go and 184 which did not play. They found that the participants who played the game were more active, even in winter, than non-players. These players were often more likely to be active men in subjectively good health. Although the data was gathered through questionnaires, the findings were consistent in the age and employment subgroups of both players and non-players.

The findings of this study illustrate the potential positive impact augmented reality games can have on their users. The results of the study provide insightful information that can assist game designers when incorporating physical activity in their games. For instance, the researchers found that the daily routine’s of players were mostly unaffected by game incentives. Further research into augmented reality is essential in developing a positive relationship between users and augmented reality games.

  1. H. Kimihiro, et. al., Step counts of middle-aged and elderly adults for 10 months before and after the release of Pokémon GO in Yokohama, Japan. J Med Internet Res 21, (2019). doi: 10.2196/10724.  
  2. Image retrieved from:

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