There’s been a massive resurgence in Pokémon Go play over the past few days after Niantic, the game’s maker, started releasing the Generation 2 pokémon. In order for Pokémon Go players to catch the Gen.2 pocket monsters they must ‘hatch’ them by walking distances of 2km, 5km, or 10km with one of the pokémon eggs in an incubator. Yes, this sounds like complete fucking gibberish if you’ve never played this game but I assure you this is all legit.
Anyways, with all this walking to hatch eggs the people playing Pokémon Go treat this as real exercise, but a new study has proven it’s anything but. Researchers at Harvard University have found that the time and energy spent playing Pokémon Go DOES NOT qualify as real exercise:
After analyzing the movements of actual players, the researchers calculated that Pokémon Go encouraged people to take an average of 955 extra steps per day in the first week after downloading the game. Assuming that each step covered 31.5 inches and that players walked at a pace of 2.5 miles per hour, the game prompted people to walk for 11 extra minutes each day.
That’s not much. The World Health Organization recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of aerobic physical activity each week. If you spread that equally throughout the week, you’ll need to get 21.4 minutes of exercise each day – twice as much as Pokémon Go provides.
And that was just for the first week, when the augmented reality game was most addictive. In subsequent weeks, players spent less time walking around catching monsters; by the sixth week, they were back to their pre-Pokémon Go habits.
Specifically, researchers tracked 560 study participants and found that, on average, those who played the game took 4,256 steps per day before playing the game. After starting to play that number spiked to 5,123 steps in the first day, but by weeks 5 and 6 the average number of steps walked per day was actually below their averages before starting to play Pokémon Go, so they were getting in less steps than ever before. In the control group, there were 622 participants NOT playing the game, and they took an average of 4,126 steps per day, which is only slightly less than the group playing the game, and it’s actually more steps than the week’s 5 and 6 average the people playing the game (4,108 and 3,985 respectively).
Sure, I imagine there’s someone out there who has been jogging every day since this game came out and has managed to get into shape. But these results are indicative of average person playing the game, and the average person isn’t getting jack diddly squat in the way of actual exercise, which means people should probably stop talking about how this game has done wonders for people exercising that wouldn’t otherwise break a sweat (because it’s NOT real exercise and saying it’s exercise is just a lie).
I think we can all agree that the biggest benefit here isn’t the perception of exercise, even if that exercise isn’t real, but that Pokémon Go got hundreds of thousands (millions?) of gamers outside and socializing in ways they might not have without the game. Some walking in the sun is better than no walking in the sun, right?
For more on this story you can head on over to Bradenton.com