Pokemon Go at UNSW

Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the impact of Pokemon Go. In the last few weeks, Nintendo gained almost $30 billion in market value, before seeing its stock tumble just as quickly. Thousands of Australians joined a Pokemon walk to catch the little critters as a community. The game has even caused a surge in battery pack sales, with some retailers seeing an increase of 200%. So what has been the impact at UNSW?


Well, it’s more than just getting stuck behind a player caught up in the game.

Screenshot 2016-07-27 21.02.15
Almost 260,000 connections

In just the last three days, there have been almost 260,000 connections made to the Pokemon servers over UniWide. Greg Sawyer, Director of Security and Infrastructure at UNSW Australia is not worried, as the traffic caused by the app is minimal. “UniWide is more than capable of handling the traffic from Pokemon Go.”

Screenshot 2016-07-27 21.02.23
The Most Dedicated Player in Australia?

After looking over the wireless data, one statistic stands out. One student is responsible for over 20% of the Pokemon Go data we’re seeing. Is the Australia’s most dedicated player, or someone gaming the system?

Pokemon Go Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

And while Nintendo’s stock price has taken a hit in recent days, Pokemon Go traffic remains steady on UniWide.

Pokemon Research

But it’s not all fun and games. Researchers at the NHMRC Centre for Research Excellence for Mental Health and Substance Use are researching the impact of Pokemon Go on users with anxiety and depression.

Dr Louise Thornton explains “We were naturally really intrigued by all the articles about PokemonGo users reporting improvements in their mental health. It was actually a research assistant within the Centre, Brad Shaw, who came up with the idea that we should look into PokemonGo”

“So to start with we have been archiving all the tweets since the app’s launch that mention the hashtag #PokemonGo and depression and/or anxiety. We want to more clearly understand what people are saying about the app and how it might effect their mental health.”
“Since 6th July there have been over 5,000 tweets using the #PokemonGo hashtag that have also mentioned depression or anxiety, and in the last 24hours alone there have been over 39,000 tweets using the #PokemonGo hashtag.  We are looking to conduct the twitter analysis over the next couple of weeks. We’ll then do a detailed content analysis of a random sample of the tweets we have collected.”
We’re fascinated to see the results, and will update the blog with the findings of Thornton’s team. In the meantime, we’ll be out catching Pokemon. I hear there’s a Squirtle in the Morven Brown courtyard.

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