Yesterday, The Pokémon Company announced a new app that will “turn sleeping into entertainment.”
“Pokémon Go turned the simple act of walking into entertainment, making the entire world into a game,” wrote Pikachu’s parent company. “We’re about to do it again, Trainers — this time, for sleeping.”
That’s right, after successfully reshaping physical reality, Pokémon Go is coming for your dreams.
When Pokémon Go launched in 2016, the makers of the app — The Pokémon Company and the game company Niantic — insisted their augmented reality platform offered “incentive to go outside and exercise” and learn more about the world.
Now, that process is evolving: Pokémon Sleep claims to offer an incentive to get “a good night’s rest” — and monetize every marketable minute of our lives, day and night.
Pokémon Sleep will come with a device called the Pokémon Go Plus + (yes, that’s “plus plus”), a small device that spends the night in your bed collecting data about your sleeping habits.
The device will send sleep data to a smartphone via Bluetooth, rewarding players who get enough sleep — and giving Pikachu’s producers 24/7 access to users and their valuable data.
“We love exploring the world on foot,” John Hanke, the CEO of game-maker Niantic, told The New York Times. “And that can’t happen unless we have the energy to embark on these adventures.”
Other companies also want to shape our sleep: Wearable-makers, health insurers, and employers are all desperate to track sleep to lower healthcare costs.
But Pokémon Sleep may get there first — because, let’s face it, Pikachu has a better track record of changing behavior than the healthcare system.
Pokémon products promise to help kids play and sleep well. But will over-augmenting reality also shrink their imaginations to a single Poké-verse that a multibillion-dollar game company dreamt up?