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Pokémon Go explained with Watson Analytics

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Pokémon Go explained with Watson Analytics

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Wondering why you’re seeing large groups of people of all ages wandering around town holding their phones out at arm’s length? Are your kids, colleagues, or neighbors talking about capturing Pikachu, Charmander or Pidgey?

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm and is so popular that it is challenging Twitter in terms of most daily active users on Android.

It’s also one of the top trending topics on social media.

Pokemon Go Trends

With mostly positive sentiment:

Pokemon Go Positive

Real life and the Pokémon universe

If you weren’t already aware, Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game available as a free app for iOS and Android. Pokémon Go uses your phone’s clock and GPS to identify where and when you’re in the game. As you move around in real life, you also move in the Pokémon universe making Pokémon—fictional creatures of all shapes and sizes—appear on your phone screen.  The goal is simple and diabolically addictive: to catch them all.

Watson Analytics visualizations tell a story

Using IBM Watson Analytics and Pokémon Go data, I’ll explain the game for you in visualizations.

There are currently 151 different Pokémon in Pokémon Go, and they fall into certain types:

Pokemon Word Cloud

The Pokémon also come in a number of sizes:

Pokemon Go Bubble Chart

The Pokémon reside in certain habitats based on types:


So, going to a park, for example, will reveal more grass, bug, and flying-type Pokémon:

Pokemon Go Network

And going to the beach will reveal more water-type Pokémon:

Pokemon at the beach

As you explore your surrounding environment, you’ll capture more and different types of Pokémon.

Eevee PokeballCatch them if you can

Now that you’re ready to head outside to play, here are some other things to know.

There are PokeStops in the game that correspond with landmarks in the real world marked on your map. You can pick up certain items at these stops, such as PokeBalls to catch Pokémon and eggs that hatch into Pokémon. You can also leave lures to catch extra Pokémon.

Some of them are more difficult to catch than others.

This visualization shows the ones that are the hardest.  The smaller the box, the harder the Pokémon is to capture. While Rattata, Weedle, Meowth, and Pidgey are some of the easier Pokémon to capture, Zapdos, Moltres, Mewtwo, and Articuno are among the hardest to capture.


As you can see, if you’re trying to capture all of the Pokémon, you’ll need to explore different types of terrains to encounter them.

Once a Pokémon appears on your screen, get ready to swipe to throw a PokeBall to capture it.

I captured a Pokémon! Now what?

Now that you have captured a Pokémon, its combat power will be key to your success at gyms.  This visualization shows the maximum combat power for each Pokémon:

Pokemon Power Treemap

Lastly, using the powerful capabilities of Watson Analytics for Social Media, you can see which Pokémon are more popular on social media:

popular Pokemon

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Pikachu is by far the most popular while poor Cloyster is one of the least popular.

Play and learn

Hopefully you understand Pokémon Go a little better now.  Join us at World of Watson in Las Vegas October 24-27 to learn more about how Watson can help players capture Pokémon and other fun activities.  And if you’re interested in creating compelling data visualizations like these by yourself, check out today.

Data for this blog came from the  and sites.

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Clement Aug 22, 2016

Amazing blog! Do you have any tips and hints for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Thank you!

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Forsyth Alexander Aug 22, 2016

Thank you! I highly recommend either Word Press or Medium. For an aspiring writer, Medium might work better because it handles things like SEO and social media for you.

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Dhiren Chouhan Aug 17, 2016

thanks for explanation. Glad to know the details about Pokemon. My 7 year old son collects and trade the pokemon cards. I use to wonder what is this all about.

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Forsyth Alexander Aug 18, 2016

I’m so glad you found the blog useful. My children used to collect them, too, but that was years ago now.

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Forsyth Alexander Aug 19, 2016

Thanks to a project in the IBM Dublin office, we have some insights into the teams and we blogged about it.

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