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Pokémon Go is Not the Future of Fitness, it's Just another Fitness Fad.

01/08/2016 16:20 | Updated 01 August 2016

Pokémon Go has been around for less than a month and it is already being hailed as the hottest game of 2016, but some people are going even further to suggest it may even be the cure for obesity.

In an age where trends come and go faster than you can say Pikachu - it's highly unlikely that Pokémon Go will stick around long enough to battle a global epidemic like obesity, and even if it did, there is limited evidence to suggest that it could.

There is no quick fix for obesity, it takes time, effort, and most importantly a combination of exercise and diet lifestyle changes. Secondly, when looking at games, consumers are easily bored and jump from the latest game to another, leaving its competitor behind to join other lost interests.

Pokémon Go has been praised for integrating exercise more regularly into our daily routines without players really noticing or complaining. Doctors recommend that exercise should be performed for a minimum of 30 minutes a day for healthy adults, and players are reporting they did 62.5 percent more steps in a weekend compared to a normal weekend when playing the game.

I applaud Pokémon Go for successfully making people get out and about - but we should also be realistic and recognise that there is no 'silver bullet' cure for one of the western world's biggest health issues. I find it shocking that so many respected commentators and publications, the Guardian included, are promoting Pokémon Go as a fitness solution for obesity.

One in four British adults is obese, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation and obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years. To tackle obesity you need a solution that challenges your lifestyle by combining exercise and diet changes. Pokémon Go fails in this regard. It is merely another game that has caught the consumer's eye, that happens to make you walk around to play instead of slobbing out on the sofa.

John Hanke, Pokémon Go CEO, said "a lot of fitness apps come with a lot of "baggage". But Pokémon Go is designed to get you up and moving by promising you Pokémon as rewards, rather than placing pressure on you."

By all means the game encourages physical activity, but this does not qualify it as a revolutionary fitness product with the promise of tackling obesity. Sooner or later the hype around Pokémon Go will die down and consumers will tire of chasing Eevee or Wishbone. Remember how Pokémon's popularity disappeared before? Who is to say that it won't again?

Gaming apps in particular have a short shelf life. They are by far the most popular section in the app store but they also have the highest de-installation rate. Apple users remove around 82 percent of downloaded apps and Android users delete nearly 89 percent.

You used to not be able to get on the tube without being surrounded by passengers playing Temple Run, Candy Crush, Fruit Ninja or Angry Birds. Where are they now? Like Pokémon Go, they are all "casual apps" that have low entry barriers in order to target a large audience. These simple games capture the users attention for a while, but eventually players outgrow it and move on.

We've even seen it happen with Tinder. Just last week Match Group, the owner of Tinder, released its second quarter earnings and by the end of the day shares were down 5 percent and investors were disappointed by subscriber growth.

Likewise with Facebook. It is no longer the new shiny digital product of the day and "Facebook Fatigue" is firmly setting in globally. The company experienced a drop in active usage of 8 percent in 2014.

Fitness games and apps live a short life too. Do you recall the "30 day squat challenge"? The fitness fad that covered social media has vanished. Dance Dance Revolution was a common post school activity that swept through any household with a teenager, and what about Nintendo's other fitness fad, Wii Fit? Both have become distant memories.

All of these apps fill our free time but there is a limit to their interest and therefore customer commitment. Pokémon Go is destined to follow the same trend. It will not be the force that combats obesity and gets our nation up and running about every day. It is simply following the trend, and sooner or later it will join the ranks of the forgotten games and fitness fads. Enjoy it whilst it lasts.

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