What we can learn from the Pokemon Go launch disaster
It’s a worldwide phenomenon. People all over the world have left their homes in search of Pokémon. If you don’t know, Pokémon is a video game series started in the mid-1990s. In the decades since, it has grown into multiple TV series, five feature films, and now a mobile-gaming first.
It’s been a rocky start for the mobile game. As I learned more about Pokémon Go, and the issues it had, I began to ask “What’s the lesson here?” And there’s a big one for anyone looking to do live streaming. Before I get tell you what it is though, let me tell you a little bit more about the game.
It’s one of the first “augmented-reality” games designed for mass consumption. The way it works is you take a walk in the real world. Then in the game, Pokémon – strange little creatures – appear around you and your job is to catch them. You can “see” them in the real world if you choose to by letting the game use your camera.
It’s getting people off their couches and walking all over the place trying to “catch them all” (the series’ catchphrase).
Sounds potentially fun right? Play a game while getting exercise too?
Millions thought so. And that’s when disaster hit.
The launch disaster
After launch, many people couldn’t sign up or login. My son waited days to be able to get his account, while my daughter and I got on straight away (might have been an iOS vs. Android issue).
The people who did login would find that their phone would freeze, or the servers would stop responding. When the servers stopped responding that meant you could lose the rare Pokemon you were in the middle of catching!
The company behind the game, Niantic, said they had overwhelming demand. They didn’t have enough computer power (the servers) to handle the millions of people trying to play around the world – and that’s before they added another 26 countries just a few days ago.
It’s proved to be a frustrating experience for many, and even though the initial uptake was high, people are predicting a steep drop in players because of the issues (which go way beyond just servers. There are bugs in the game and multiple hacking organisations are taking down the servers).
The Pokemon series has millions of fans, and many will likely stay with the game during this troubled time. But millions more won’t hang around, and they may never come back.
Lessons for streaming
Game developers can’t always know demand. They do their best to estimate, but also have to balance cost because not every mobile game is successful.
Live streaming video can suffer from some of that same uncertainty. But much like a mobile game launch, you only get one chance to get it right – it’s live after all!
Here are some steps, though, that you can take to help ensure your live streaming event isn’t a disaster:
- Estimate the bandwidth you’ll need. You can use our handy calculator here to ensure you plan for enough.
- Use a wired Internet connection whenever possible. Wi-Fi and cellular connections may not be reliable enough.
- Visit your venue, test actual bandwidth available, and rehearse if possible.
- Determine what devices your viewers will use and test your stream. This isn’t as big an issue as it used to be, but you’ll still want to make sure your viewers can see your stream properly.
Everyone wants their live streaming event to go off without a hitch. And with preparation you can get rid of most of the uncertainty and be prepared for whatever happens.
If you have questions about the four steps listed above, we’d be happy to answer all your questions. Grab us on live chat, or send us an email anytime.