If the only thing ever stopping you from playing Pokémon Go was the lack of an accompanying social media app, then you’re in luck. Niantic, creator of Pokémon Go has done exactly that – a social media app called Campfire is coming, and it’s coming soon.
After a period of early internal testing, it seems Campfire will make its debut pretty soon. The app was initially announced in May, and has since then undergone rigorous testing amongst the Ingress fanbase since then. The official rollout will start with a select few players of Pokémon Go, before being officially unleashed on the world.
You may be wondering what the point of a social media app for Niantic games is. Well, Campfire is designed to help players find any nearby in-game events. They’re able to organize meet-ups with other players or friends. Of course, if it’s a friend you’re arranging to meet, you don’t really need Campfire…
But that’s not the point. Campfire has private messages, and a group chat functionality. This makes it easier to send over a raid location to in-game friends and plan a meet around it. There’s also the ability to add a ‘flare’ to any location with something of note happening. Of course, a flare will often just mean a pokémon is in the area, which is kind of the point of the game. Nevertheless, there’ll still be a bunch of people using Campfire. For better or for worse.
Another use will be seeing where your friends end up spending all of their time in Pokémon Go. You’ll find the best spots more easily, and can grow your Pokédex at a quicker rate.
The idea of a social media app for a Niantic game feels odd. When Pokémon Go first launched in 2016, the entire point of the game was to go out and explore the world yourself. On the way, you’d find rare areas for rarer pokémon. The news would spread to surrounding players. Watching the panic ensue was a beautiful sight.
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The Campfire app will take that away from the essence of the game. Sure, Campfire may help reignite a spark amongst the fanbase – but at what cost?
There’s also an obvious issue with an app designed to promote gatherings. The game is aimed more towards children, and that’s where the issue comes in. Kids are easily swayed and may be convinced to meet in an empty area without their parents. It’s not a nice thought, but it’s an obvious flaw. No amount of age requirements will prevent the worst from happening.
Surely, Niantic have already thought of this, and will have measurements in place to reduce such a risk. Once the app is officially released, we’ll see exactly how Niantic plans to tackle this problem. The social media app will apparently also expand in other ways following its launch. It’ll probably support a bunch of Niantic’s games, at the very least.
Source: The Verge