Although I am no longer an academic, I see research opportunities everywhere. One set of untapped research is in Pokémon Go (PoGo).
I am not talking about the already done-to-death exercise studies or about the motivations to play and keep playing.
I am thinking about how sociologists might add to PoGo’s trend analysis. Number crunchers have already collected data on its meteoric rise and now its declining use. While these provide useful information to various stakeholders, I wonder if anyone has considered the impact of PoGo uncles and aunties.
Nothing amusing about an uncle playing #PokémonGo with a millennial. What's amusing is the uncle giving expert advice
— Dr Ashley Tan (@ashley) October 25, 2016
I am not the first to observe how much older players have started playing PoGo. I tweeted this a while ago and someone just started a thread in the PoGoSG Facebook group about uncles and aunties at play.
A quick search on Twitter with keywords like “pokemon go” and “auntie” or “uncle” might surprise you.
The PoGo aunties and uncles are quite obvious here. So far I have noticed three main types: Solo aunties, uncles in pairs or small groups, and auntie-uncle couples. There are more types, of course, but these three are common enough to blip frequently on social radar.
But I would not be content with just describing the phenomenon. I would ask if they contribute to the “death” of PoGo just like how the older set adopted Facebook and how teens then migrated to Snapchat.
We should not underestimate the impact of uncles and aunties. After all, there must be a reason for this saying: Old age and treachery will always overcome youthfulness and skill.