Why Do You Play Pokémon Go? Part 2 – Analyzing the Responses


Following our recent article and survey “Why Do You Play Pokémon Go?“, We want to thank all of you for the 4000+ responses we received! We’ve since analyzed these and wanted to share some of the results with you.

The main question in the survey asked: What are your top five reasons and incentives for getting out into the world and playing Pokémon GO? The answers to this varied depending on how much people play, with the more active trainers having slightly different goals than the casual ones.

But first, let’s see which reasons for playing ended up with the most overall ‘votes.’

Top Reasons for Playing Pokémon Go

Why do you play Pokémon Go? Graph to show top reasons for playing Pokémon Go
A graph to show the survey results for the top reasons for playing Pokémon Go

Reason #1

Completing your Pokédex is the clear winner with 77% of players telling us that it’s one of their top 5 reasons for playing, and rightly so; After all, you’ve “Gotta Catch ’em All!”

Perhaps the 23% who don’t prioritize this part of the game are more meta-focused players who no longer feel the need to collect Pokémon that aren’t useful in Battles actively. I can personally identify with this except my reason for not filling my Pokédex as a matter of priority is that I want to save the candy in case a ‘dex filler’ becomes useful in battle one day.

Reason #2

Shiny hunting comes in comfortably in second place, and with the mass-excitement that comes from the release of each new shiny Pokémon, it’s no surprise that this found it’s home within the top 5. 63% of people say they love this activity.

Reason #3

Playing socially is, of course, a significant factor in this game’s popularity which is why 40% of respondents said that this is one of the top 5 reasons why they play. With highly sociable events and features like Community Days and Raiding, this game wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t get to meet up with your friends while taking part in them.

Reason #4

Playing for exercise is another somewhat unique feature of AR games like Pokémon Go. Many of us have spent so many years sat on couches playing console games, that leaving the house to play is still a novelty to us. 39% of Trainers like to work up a sweat while they play.

Reason #5

It was slightly surprising that IV hunting beat out ‘Chasing High IV Raid Bosses’ for the last spot in our top 5, but IV Hunting, in general, could easily apply to Raid Bosses as well as Pokémon caught by other means. 34% of players said that they prioritize hunting for high IV Pokémon.

Other Notable Placings

Reason #11

Controlling Gyms seems to have become a lower priority feature of the game with only around 15% of players classing it as one of their top 5 reasons for playing. Without the possibility of gaining up to 50 Pokécoins per day as an incentive, this part of the game would only really have the competition between teams aspect going for it.

Reason #13

Low manning Raids is an activity usually reserved for some of the most elite Trainers in a community. To achieve this at the highest levels requires dedication, planning, time, effort and of course, copious amounts of Stardust. These restrictive conditions are most likely the reason why only 11% make this a focus of their day-to-day gameplay, but we’re pretty sure that more would take part if their circumstances allowed them to.

Reason #14

PvP… where did it all go wrong?? Is it the lack of social play, the lack of incentives, the lack of simplicity, or a combination of all three? For the 8% of players who put Trainer Battles in their top 5, these drawbacks haven’t deterred them from getting stuck in and from hoping “to be the very best, like no one ever was.” For those of us who enjoy the more in-depth battle system, nothing would be better than Niantic incentivizing the other 92% of players to take it seriously too.

Top Reasons per Play Style

As we mentioned, another question on our survey asked about people’s play style, i.e., roughly how much they play. Here’s a chart showing the distribution of responses to this:

survey: top reasons per play style
Pie chart showing the distribution of play style

There were some interesting correlations between peoples’ play style and their reasons for playing;

Top 5 Reasons for People Who Don’t Play Every day

  1. Completing your Pokédex
  2. Shiny hunting
  3. Playing for exercise
  4. Playing socially
  5. IV hunting

Top 5 Reasons for People Who Play every day To Some Extent

  1. Completing your Pokédex
  2. Shiny hunting
  3. Playing socially
  4. Playing for exercise
  5. IV hunting

Top 5 Reasons for People Who Play for Several Hours Every day

  1. Shiny hunting
  2. Completing your Pokédex
  3. Chasing high IV Raid Bosses and Raid rewards
  4. IV hunting
  5. Playing socially

Top 5 Reasons for People Who Rarely Stop Playing

  1. Shiny hunting
  2. Completing your Pokédex
  3. Chasing high IV Raid Bosses and Raid rewards
  4. IV hunting
  5. Playing socially

From the pie chart, we see that the vast majority of Trainers “play every day to varying extents.” I would also put myself into this category as some days I get a chance to play for several hours, while on others I might only have time to play on my lunch break for example.

For Trainers who don’t play every day or play every day to varying extents, the top 5 reasons for playing are almost the same as the overall top 5 reasons. But when we look at the responses of Trainers who play every day for several hours or rarely stop playing, things start to look quite different…

We see shiny hunting take the top spot from Pokédex completion in both of the most intense play styles, possibly because these players will usually gain the newest Pokédex entries quite quickly and therefore prefer to chase down those elusive and coveted variants. We also see Chasing high IV Raid Bosses, and Raid rewards enter the top 5; In my experience, Trainers who play the most tend to focus their time on hitting as many Raids as possible to try and get that 100% Legendary. Playing socially still clings on in 5th place, but playing for exercise isn’t the highest priority for our most active Trainers, presumably because their high amount of play time keeps them moving anyway.

Other Popular Responses

One extra option we had in the survey for your “top 5 reasons for playing” was “Other,” in case there were some reasons we hadn’t thought of. Well, it turns out that there were several other reasons that people wanted to share. Here are some popular answers we got under the ‘other’ option:

  • Therapeutic – helps with stress / depression / anxiety / other mental health issues
  • Collecting legacy moves
  • Completing field / special research tasks
  • Grinding for Stardust and candy
  • Hatching eggs
  • Collecting lucky Pokémon
  • An incentive to travel / explore
  • Playing out of habit / addiction / fear of missing out
  • For the nostalgia
  • Family bonding
  • Compatibility with Pokémon Let’s Go
  • Immersion / escape from reality
  • Blends light fitness with recreation.
  • An incentive for a daily walk / makes necessary walks more interesting
  • Finding local landmarks and points of interest
  • Competition with friends
  • Building friendship levels
  • Participating in events
  • Hunting for 0% Pokémon
  • Level 1 collecting

…and of course:

  • To be the very best like no one ever was

Thank you again for taking part in this survey. If you enjoyed this analysis of player opinion, we have some more survey-based articles planned, so please look out for those.

Author & tags

Age 32, from Grantham UK. Team Valor - Admin of the Pokémon Go Grantham Community.

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