Pokemon GO has been live in most territories for a bit over a day now, and it is nothing short of a gigantic success. The studio behind the nuts and bolts of the game, however, never saw such success with their last title. Ingress, a game put out in 2012 by Niantic Labs, saw users wandering the real world to gather power, hack portals, claim landmarks and get items. That sounds a lot like catching Pokemon, hitting up Pokestops, fighting over gyms and going to shops for items, doesn't it? Pokemon GO's origins starts long before Ingress, however, as far back as 2004, when Google Earth was created from Google's buyout of a mapping startup, Keyhole.
In 2014, an April Fools' prank pulled by Google in collaboration with Nintendo whipped users into a frenzy. Using their phones and the mobile version of Google Maps, users could hunt down Pokemon on the map. The prank came and went, but users' appetites had been whet; it was too late to simply pull back. From that simple idea and a few users' very vocal input, the inkling of Pokemon GO was born. Users wanted to travel the world battling it out at gyms and catching wild Pokemon, just like the boy from Pallet Town who had introduced most of them to Japanese anime. While Ingress languished, gaining a small and dedicated user base that didn't seem to do much growing, Nintendo and Ingress got together to start cranking out teasers for Pokemon GO.
Users saw the commercials and imagined seeing a Rattata scurry past as they boarded the train, or heading to their favorite restaurant to challenge the owner, who happened to be the gym leader. When Pokemon Go materialized, fans essentially lost their collective minds. Now that the game is live, with the Pokemon GO Plus wearable coming soon to allow players to indulge without keeping their phones out and on, it's safe to say that it has thus far been a runaway success, even if only on the name and premise. Whether it ends up being another Ingress or the promise of catching 'em all keeps users pounding the pavement, only time will tell.