Pokémon GO is serious leisure that increases the touristic engagement, physical activity and sense of happiness of players

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Information Technology and Tourism


© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature. This study investigates Pokémon Go as a form of serious leisure including its impact on the touristic engagement, physical activity and sense of happiness of players. This location-aware augmented reality mobile game continues to be played by millions of people every day. Based on an online survey identifying 438 Pokémon GO players from 34 countries the present study examines if playing Pokémon GO sends people to locations, cities and countries beyond their normal sphere of activity and makes them feel happier and more successful. Descriptive statistics, factor analysis and regression were used to analyze data. Results show that playing the networked game on a mobile device increases visitation to local tourism attractions, and motivates people to spend more time outdoors and walking. It also sends them to cities and countries they might not otherwise visit and acts as an alternative to spending time indoors playing computer games. Surveyed players feel happier and more successful after playing the game. Pokémon GO might have value as the center of a tourism product for those players. The opportunity to acquire Pokémon and encounter others involved in the game across a destination, or in a single attraction, could pull players to that place. These are the attributes of people in pursuit of serious leisure.

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