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03.02.20 - Pokémon Day at CALIT2

Keynote speaker, Liz George, Global Community Manager, Niantic

Feb. 27 was Pokémon Day at CALIT2. The institute partnered with Aging 2.0 to mark the day by hosting an event featuring interactive game-play experts and Pokémon activities. The program was developed to discuss the significance of multigenerational gaming and how Pokémon, the popular augmented reality app, could be used as a bridge between generations.

In 2016, Niantic launched Pokémon GO. Two months after the release, Niantic reported that “Trainers around the world had collectively walked over 4.6 billion kilometers (2.8 billion miles) while playing together. Three months later, that distance had nearly doubled.” By the end of the first year in release, Pokémon GO had generated a record-breaking $1 billion in revenue.

Keynote speaker, Liz George, Global Community Manager, Niantic opened the session with her presentation titled, “Play at any Age.”

“Ninety-seven percent of children and adolescents in the U.S. play at least one hour of games per day,” George said. While much has been written that focuses on the negative aspects of video game playing, George argues that a more balanced perspective is needed. Rather than being merely idle amusement, or worse yet, potentially harmful, a significant body of research has emerged which documents the positive effect of playing interactive video games, she said. Playing these types of games at any age may foster mental health benefits related to cognitive, motivational, emotional and social well-being, she added.

Pokémon players commonly note that the game has contributed to, “getting more exercise, getting outside and meeting new people,” George said. She highlighted the profile of one 72-year-old Pokémon player who commented, “her favorite thing about Pokémon was being able to walk into a room and feel connected to people of all ages.”

“Building on that community (of people playing the same game) and having everyone come together, there’s something really magical about it,” George added.

Panelists included (L to R) Prof. Kurt Squire, Dept. of Informatics; Prof. Mimi Ito, Dept. of Informatics;
Allison Le, League of Legends Team Manager for UCI Esports and Liz George, Nianti

The keynote presentation was followed by a panel discussion on multigenerational game play moderated by G.P. Li, director, CALIT2.

Following the sessions, Pokémon Day participants were invited to “raid, trade and collaborate” in Pokémon GO activities on the UCI campus.

– Sharon Henry