Pokémon GO has taken the gaming world by a storm. That said, for those who have never heard of it before, Pokémon GO is a free-to-play GPS-based Augmented Reality (AR) game made by Niantic for iOS and Android devices (smartphones and tablets). While Pokémon GO is pretty addictive, the one missing feature in the game is the ability to interact socially with other players. GoChat, a third-party app — among many others — available on both Android and iOS, solves exactly this problem by allowing for interactions between Pokémon GO players.
Essentially, GoChat allows users to pin a notable location like a Pokéstop or a Gym on the map. If you are anywhere near this pin, you can chat with the player who posted the original pin. GoChat allows users to create a profile, add friends, and message them as well. You can use GoChat to devise Pokémon GO tactics with other players and even find out locations of various Pokémon and Pokéstops in a particular area. You can also group with other like-minded players and scout the area for Pokémon. Do note that GoChat is a cross-platform app, which means that Pokémon GO players on both iOS and Android can interact with each other.
However, GoChat’s maker Jonathan Zarra, spoke with the Verge, saying, “The amount of traffic that we are currently getting has been the most insane thing ever, man. People are just blowing it the f**k up.”
The Verge reports that it was becoming difficult to create a new account on GoChat, and the app just crashes when you try to load a message (provided you manage to log in). In just five days, GoChat has hit a million active users, and the current servers are getting 600 requests every second, therefore causing the servers to crash frequently. Zarra has reportedly hired a contractor using Upwork to help fix the server issues. Abdoelrhman Eaita, the contractor, estimates that it would cost Zarra approximately $4,000 to install new servers.
Now the question is whether Zarra has $4,000 to spare, because he doesn’t believe in serving ads on GoChat.
He told the Verge, “I hate ads.”
Also, introducing ads might only invite trouble for Zarra, because the Pokémon Company could file a lawsuit against him for using copyrighted materials. Having said that, Zarra is currently talking to investors to keep the app solvent. Furthermore, he is not ready to divulge the amount of money he has already spent on GoChat to date.
“I don’t want people to know how stupid I am,” he said jokingly.
Zarra’s lack of foresight regarding the server load issue is understandable considering he has never made a mobile app before GoChat.
Interestingly, Zarra released GoChat on both the platforms, iOS and Android, a day before Pokémon Go was officially launched on July 5. Zarra had access to the beta version of Pokémon GO because he had volunteered to be a tester for the game. He realized early on that the game would become popular and decided to create GoChat because Pokémon GO lacked a messaging option. Certainly, Zarra had no lack of foresight here.
Pokémon GO is so popular that it is now on more Android smartphones than Tinder, according to a SimilarWeb report. Pokémon GO is now installed on 5.16 percent of all Android devices in the U.S. In fact, the game has inspired millions of players to participate in thousands of Pokémon trainer meetings in parks and other open spaces.
In fact, a GoChat user messaged Zarra that, using his app, he found a girl and is taking her out on a date. Apart from beating Tinder in the numbers game, it looks like GoChat might just become competition for the dating app.
[Photo by Richard Vogel/AP Images]