Yesterday at a press conference in Tokyo, The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara announced a number of upcoming products and features from the company, one of which is a new mobile app – Pokémon Sleep.
Coming in 2020, Pokémon Sleep will look to transform sleeping into entertainment, rewarding people for resting in a similar way to which the original 2016 Pokémon Go app incentivised people to go outside and walk around.
With stats suggesting that people are not getting the eight hours of sleep the body needs to function at an optimal level – last year, a study found that in the UK the average person gets six hours and 19 minutes of sleep, while a CDC study reported that more than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep – this comes at a much needed time.
“Exploring the real world was one of the themes of Pokémon Go,” said Ishihara at the conference. “We believe we were able to take the simple human act of walking and turn it into entertainment for many people around the world.”
“After walking we decided to focus on the act of sleeping. Everyone spends a large part of their life sleeping and turning that into entertainment is our next challenge at Pokémon.”
Turning resting into gameplay, users will be rewarded for the time they spend asleep during which a range of yet to be determined activities will happen in their game. Ishihara says the company wants people to look forward to waking up every morning.
“[It will] transform the time spent sleeping at night into something more fun and enriching for everyone,” added Kazuhiro Maruyama, a representative from Nintendo who will be teaming up with Pokémon to create a sleep tracking device. While John Hanke, CEO of another partner Niantic, said they were “excited to find ways to reward good sleep habits in Pokémon Go as part of a healthy lifestyle.
While the fact that Pokémon is encouraging children (and adults) to lead healthy lifestyles is great, it does beg the question – what does it say about us as a society that we need to be given fun incentives in order to complete the simple human tasks of walking and sleeping?