It only seems fitting that Fab 12 is a PokeStop since TSMC stands to make a lot of money from the augmented reality gaming craze that is sweeping the world. Unfortunately, most of the press I have read about Pokemon Go has been negative but that is the new “negative media” world we live in. As a player myself (level 25) and a semiconductor professional (level 32) let me share my experience, observations, and opinions on Pokemon Go and augmented reality as the next semiconductor driver.
I downloaded Pokemon Go on July 10[SUP]th[/SUP] at the urging of my nephew. After suffering years of Pokemon cartoons, trading cards, posters, stuffed animals, and even Halloween costumes at the hands of my four children it seemed like the right thing to do. It was immediately a good fit for me since it involves three of my favorite things: Walking (I walk 20+ miles a week so I can eat with impunity), semiconductor technology, and the opportunity to beat my nephew at a video game.
One thing I can tell you is that Pokemon Go absolutely consumes my iPhone 6 as you will notice by the warmth and short lived battery life (2-3 PokeHours). It has also more than doubled my data usage which is subjective of course since I generally use less than 1GB of data per month. While most of the program is local to the smartphone there must be a serious cloud infrastructure behind it with millions of people playing around the world. So yes, AR is a semiconductor driver and this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Pokemon Go is a very strategic game that gets deeper with every new release so I do not see this as an Angry Birds or Candy Crush type of fad. Pokemon tapped into the nostalgic side of former Pokemon trainers and their parents plus the nerd market segment on a whole. It also shows that augmented reality games have serious location based business applications. For example, you can submit a request to make your business a PokeStop or a coveted PokeGym and my wife and I even got a 15% PokeDiscount on a meal.
If you have Pokemon questions you can post them in the comments section. Since my nephew is literally a Pokemon encyclopedia my learning curve was rather short. I also have the benefit of living near a park with a 1km track and 20+ PokeStops and since I work mostly from home I have much more time on my hands than the typical Silicon Valley gridlocked commuter.
With the overwhelming success of Pokemon Go I expect many more augmented reality games to follow. How about Trivial Pursuit? I also expect a surge in smartphone purchases which of course will keep TSMC and the fabless semiconductor ecosystem growing, absolutely.
On a side note, I was in Taiwan during the Pokemon Go launch last month. I had already been playing so my experience level was very high in comparison and my PokeMonsters were on steroids so I owned the Hsinchu PokeGyms. There were swarms of people playing this game and when they finally figured out it was me that was destroying them I got the rock star treatment. I did make a kid cry when one of my PokeMonsters destroyed six of his but that is all part of PokeLife.
Another benefit of Pokemon Go, besides the extra calories I get to eat, is that I walk different routes and discover new things. This little zen retreat is a PokeGym two blocks from the Hotel Royal in Hsinchu. I have been staying at the Royal for close to 20 years and I never knew this existed. You can also go on PokeBikeRides but you have to go slow (5mph) to get mileage credit. PokeDriving however is a very bad idea but I did see quite a bit of it in Hsinchu which made being a pedestrian even more dangerous than it already is.