Study finds Pokemon Go increases physical activity

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study, conducted by Ryen W. White and Eric Horvitz from the Microsoft team along with Tim Althoff from Stanford University, logged the activity of 31,793 U.S. users over a span of 30 days.

The players were identified by using search engines which, recognized players, and their activity logs were tracked by a method called accelerometry — a feature on cellphones that calculates how many steps an individual takes. During the study, users were given a Microsoft Band product to calculate their physical activity.

Using this method, the scholars found that physical activity increased. “In the short time span of the study, we estimate that Pokemon Go has added a total of 144 billion steps to US physical activity,” said the official study. Engaged users saw an increase of over 1,400 steps a day on average — a 25 percent increase from their prior activity.

The study also estimated that those with a sustained interest in Pokemon Go reduced their mortality rate by six percent — which adds an estimated eight million years of life to players.

“I walked a lot for sure. Egg hatching had me walking around for hours, which I really had never done for fun before,” said UWT student Colin Overturf, a big fan of the game back when it came out in June of this year. Overturf says he’s glad Pokemon Go has created an opportunity to relive a game from his childhood. “It has the original Pokemon from all the Pokemon games I played as a kid. I’ve always been a huge Pokemon fan so it’s really cool to see sort of an ‘adult’ version or a version that can appeal to the people that used to play the old games,” he says.

Althoff, Horvitz and White agree Pokemon Go could eventually go the way of many other “here today, gone tomorrow” applications, they do agree Pokemon Go is unique in its ability to combine game play with physical activity — something many other applications fail to achieve.

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