Despite your feelings on the Pokémon Go craze, there's no denying it's had a major effect on those who play regularly.
In total, Pokémon Go added an estimated 144 billion steps to the physical activity of its users over a period of 30 days, according to a recently published study.
Players look at their phones during a "Pokemon Go" event at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. AP Photo/Nati Harnik
Furthermore, its hardcore players increased "their average activity by 1,473 steps a day or 26%." Nice!
The study, which was conducted by Stanford PhD candidate Tim Althoff in partnership with Microsoft Research, tracked the physical activity of 1,420 Microsoft Band users who were identified as Pokémon Go players by their internet search inquiries — for example, if they searched terms like "Pokémon Go teams" or "Pokémon Go guide," they were identified as being a player of the game.
Althoff acknowledges the sample size is small in comparison with the many millions of people who downloaded the game, but he said it's a pretty representative cross-section of the larger population.
"We find that in our study, subjects had a median age of 33 (reasonable given expectations for who actually plays Pokémon Go), 36.5% were overweight and 28.2% are obese," he told Polygon. "This matches official U.S. estimates very well. These indicate that our population is not extremely off."
While the physical benefits of playing Pokémon Go are undeniable, the main challenge to maintaining these increases is maintaining user engagement. If you look at the graph of the daily physical activity of its hardcore players (those who searched for Pokémon Go pages online more than ten times), you'll see that the daily number of steps fell back in line with the control group towards the end of the 30-day period.
Overall, daily use of the app has declined significantly since it first came out in July, but it's worth noting that millions of people still play every month, so those people are still likely reaping somephysical benefits, though it's probably not as significant as it was when the phenomenon was at its peak.
Regardless, hopefully Pokémon Go reminded a few people that being outside and exploring unknown parts of the city is a great way to get fit, even if catching a Jigglypuff isn't a part of the equation.
Be sure to check out the full study.