It's not unusual to see a 20-something walking down the street with their gaze fixed on their phone screen, but in the last week this zombie-like phenomenon has reached new heights, thanks to the launch of Pokémon Go. The gaming app has gone seriously viral, Similar Web reports, with a record number of downloads propelling it to the number one spot on the iTunes free apps chart, above Snapchat and Instagram. Only one day after its release, Pokémon Go was installed on more U.S. Android phones than Tinder. Yes, you're probably more likely to meet someone out catching Pokémon than by swiping left and right.
What's all the fuss about? Pokémon Go is an augmented reality platform that allows users to find and catch the fictional characters as they explore the world around them. Once you've found a Pokémon, the game opens your smartphone camera and shows the creature against the real setting, as if it's a few feet away from you. Players then flick a Poké Ball toward the cartoon creature to capture it.
The app isn't just dominating when it comes to new downloads. Over 60% of those who have installed Pokémon Go on their phone use it daily. In other words, about 3% of the entire U.S. Android population is trying to catch Pokémon. People are spending an average of 43 minutes and 23 seconds on the app each day, ranking it higher than Whatsapp, Instagram, and Snapchat. It's believed that in a few days the app could even have more users than Twitter.
Hilarious stories have already emerged of people encountering Pokémon in real-life situations, such as a man who used the app to catch a Pokémon in the delivery room while his wife was in labor. The game has also been tied to more serious issues, as police believe it could have been used by armed robbers to lure victims in Missouri.
While Americans are still learning how to use the game and identify potential real-world threats, it's clearly captivating. Want to find out what the fuss is about? Download Pokémon Go and tell us if you can understand the mass hysteria.