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Two years on, Pokémon Go is still a thing in Royal Park
Remember the 2016 Pokémon Go craze? Two years after the game launched, a hard core of Pokémon chasers can still be found in Brussels’ Royal Park this summer.
Although the initial hype of the game may have fizzled out, the game is still quite popular. According to Le Soir, the daily income worldwide from the game is estimated at $2 million - with Pokémon Go events around the globe still attracting hundreds of devoted fans.
The Royal Park was the focal point of Brussels’ Pokémon chasing, attracting hundreds of players at times. "It's normal that there are fewer people,” mega-fan Romain told a Le Soir reporter in the park.
“In the beginning everybody wanted to try it and now the big fans remain. I stopped the game for at least six months, but I started again two weeks ago because the weather is nice.”
At its height, the craze had started to worry Belgian police, who had threatened to hand out €55 fines to anyone using their smartphone who presented a danger to themselves, other members of the public and drivers by wandering around without looking.
The origins of Pokémon Go have a long history in location-based games for smartphones. Stemming from an April’s Fools joke in 2014, the Pokémon Company and Google Maps teamed up to develop a “Google Maps Pokémon Challenge”. The simple game was similar to “Where’s Wally/Waldo” where users were challenged to find Pokémon in the Google Maps app.
The joke ended up being successful and garnered the attention of John Hank, chief executive of Niantic, whose Ingress app mixed virtual reality and geolocation. The innovative genre and game later provided the foundation for the Pokémon Go design. In August 2016, the game officially launched with over 90 million players. Since then, Niantic has added over 20 updates and additions to the original game.