Can Pokémon GO attract a new audience to the outdoors?

Aug 29 2016, 3:36 am

You most likely have a strong opinion about Pokémon GO. Some people think it’s ridiculous and have grown bitter to the hype. But regardless on your feelings towards the game, one thing is certain: a lot of people love it and the stats are providing ongoing growth.


Pokémon GO has done a great job in getting gamers out of their basement and outside to parks and landmarks. A quick visit to Stanley Park or Queen Elizabeth this summer would quickly prove the success of this game.

A First Nations interpretive guide on, Candace Campo is thinking progressively about this new technology and sees an opportunity to bring a new audience into nature – so she’s organized Pokémon GO interpretive walking experiences in Stanley Park. Participants visit both monuments where Pokémon are most commonly found, all while learning the history of the land. Those who join Campo’s tour will also learn about traditional foraging and First Nations’ culture.

Throughout the summer, many businesses leveraged the trend, including outdoor mecca Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) to try and attract a new market of outdoor recreationalists. One of their stores created a Pokémon GO endcap (the section at the end of an aisle), which beat every other feature they had in every store across the country.

But getting gamers out of the city to visit areas like national and provincial parks doesn’t look so likely as Pokémon in the game are located near landmarks, or PokéStops, which are mainly located within the city around buildings, statues, public art, historical signs, and monuments.

Will a game like Pokémon GO help facilitate a connection to our natural environment? Maybe it’s a stretch. But then again, maybe it’s an icebreaker for an audience who rarely connects with the outdoors.

If you’re interested in joining Campo’s guided tour through Stanley Park, use the promo code “Go” and save 20%. Or, if don’t care for Pokémon but want to connect deeper with our natural environment, see her more traditional interpretive tours.