Internet forums are overrun with complaints about Pokémon Go sucking up phones’ batteries like some kind of deranged Zubat. While Niantic, the game’s publisher, is currently working on a patch for this issue it still raises the question about why this problem wasn’t recognised before the game’s launch.
When researching new products, we at Hook Research often find that the most successful companies tread a fine line between pushing the limits and respecting established barriers. Augmented reality is ushering in a whole new era in gaming, but this problem applies more broadly to all apps that significantly reduce battery life in the pursuit of entertainment.
As these applications become more and more common is it time to stop ogling at the technological possibilities and instead start working within technical limitations?
Gotta Catch ‘em all on Pokémon Go (before your battery dies)
In a report issued by Deloitte at the end of last year, almost 70% of those surveyed reported ‘battery life’ as the biggest limit on their mobile phone – and this was before virtual monsters started roaming our streets.
Now, apps like Pokémon Go – and its predecessor, Ingress, to a lesser degree – have become known as notorious battery hogs. Anyone who has whiled away an afternoon chasing down their nearest Ratatat will attest to the highs that accompany each successful catch, and the gut churning lows when you realise that you’ve blown through half your battery before your second morning coffee. CNET have recently run a little test to see just how much battery the game is costing you. On an iPhone 6, with 80% brightness, good signal, and no background applications, catching them all will drop your battery by 15% every 30 minutes. In comparison, scrolling through Facebook for half an hour will only set you back a mere 5%.
A practical necessity or a limitation on creativity?
There is a danger when speaking about limitations in a creative space.
Creatives should be encouraged to dream big, and to produce ideas that stretch current technology to its limits. In this sense, imposing limitations on such blue-sky thinking may be seen as counter-productive. Yet keeping in mind the practical restrictions on your art is necessary as well, particularly in regard to our mobile phones as we now depend on these machines for so many interactions in our everyday lives. So while we now have the technical ability to create incredibly immersive, always-on digital worlds, should app developers actually be focusing on more practical issues impacting consumers?
What do you think? Have your say in the comments or on Twitter!