App makers are capitalizing on the Pokémon GO craze with Pokémon-themed dating apps. But how have these offerings fared?
The rampantly popular Pokémon GO has brought a surprisingly diverse range of benefits to its users. The mobile game has helped people get more exercise and cope with social anxiety and depression — and now, users might also find romance during their relentless pursuits to catch ‘em all.
Get Paired with a Fellow Trainer
A spate of Pokémon-related dating services have recently hit the market, seeking to capitalize on the game’s overwhelming popularity. Indeed, Pokémon-themed dating seems like a logical next step, given that Pokémon GO has already surpassed Tinder in terms of popularity.
Project Fixup, an online service that enlists actual matchmakers (“fixup specialists”) instead of algorithms to connect people, introduced a PokéDates feature that enables trainers to meet up at a specified location to hunt together. As stated on Project Fixup’s website, “when we saw the phenomenal effects Pokémon GO has in bringing people together over this shared passion (dare we say obsession?), we knew we had to create PokéDates.” Users create PokéProfiles with details about themselves, including their schedule of availability, which matchmaking specialists then review and use to pair people with other PokéMates. Once a date has been set, both parties simply show up at the designated location, play the game together, and allow the Poké-sparks to start flying.
Another startup, PokeMatch, offers a Tinder-like app specifically geared towards people interested in the game, where users swipe right in order to “catch” other trainers who pique their interest. Meanwhile, Dine, an app that launched this past spring and aims to get people together for dinner dates or drinks as quickly as possible, recently incorporated a “Let’s catch Pokémon” feature into the app. Users can now opt to pursue Pikachu instead of breaking bread or imbibing craft beers on their first date.
The Importance of Offering Something Different
The premise of playing Pokémon GO on a first date makes a lot of sense. A video posted on Dine’s Instagram account provides three compelling reasons to give it a shot: it involves sharing a common interest (the foundation of a lasting relationship), it’s cheap, and it’s good exercise. Similarly, Project Fixup’s philosophy is that “dating should be about getting out there, meeting new people, and enjoying the world around… not sitting on your computer browsing, swiping, and messaging back and forth.” The notion of a PokéDate perfectly aligns with this mission.
But while the idea of bringing together dating and Pokémon might be a sound one in theory, none of these nascent dating apps have proved particularly popular as of yet. Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch that “none [of these apps] have immediately become breakout hits thanks to attaching themselves to the viral game.”
In fact, PokeMatch and Dine have such low rankings in the App Store that the casual user will likely not even come across them while browsing. What accounts for the lack of popularity, Perez explains, is that these new dating services have sought to become big simply by attaching themselves to the Pokémon name, yet don’t really bring anything new to the dating app/service market in and of themselves. Pokémon GO already provides people with a means to meet others with common interests — so what do these really apps offer?
It’s a valuable lesson for aspiring app developers: if you want to succeed in the fiercely competitive app market, you need to bring something novel to the table. Keep this in mind as you get started on your own app with Infinite Monkeys’ do-it-yourself app creation platform.