It was only a matter of time before Pokémon Go invaded college football.
Last week, Nintendo and The Pokémon Company launched Pokémon Go, a game for smartphones where players catch and train special creatures called Pokémon. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday the game has become such a smash hit that there have already been more than two million downloads on iOs devices and it’s generating more than $1.6 million in revenue daily from in-app purchases.
— Mike Gundy (@CoachGundy) July 11, 2016
So of course it didn’t take long for someone to link Pokémon Go’s augmented reality with the reality of college football recruiting.
On Monday evening, Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy tweeted an image of what appears to be a screen grab from Pokémon Go with a character near midfield at Boone Pickens Stadium with the caption “Gotta catch 'em all! #POKEmon.” Gundy’s tweet was initially mocked by rival fans, but by Tuesday morning, it became clear the message was a clever recruiting “edit” sent to entice prospects and go viral through social media.
The tactic worked. Gundy’s message was liked by more than 2,220 people, retweeted more than 1,200 times and received more than 50 replies. But more importantly, the edit was also a hit with the Cowboys’ biggest target market -- recruits.
— Batman (@TracinWallace) July 12, 2016
Several of Oklahoma State’s top prospects liked Gundy’s tweet, but the Cowboys didn’t end their Pokémon Go pitch there. A handful of Oklahoma State’s top targets, like three-star cornerback and Cowboy commitment Tracin Wallace of Fort Worth (Texas) South Hills High School, received personalized edits of them being “caught” within the Pokémon Go game.
“It was an awesome edit,” Wallace said. “I’m playing it and it was really cool to see him relate it to recruiting. That is another great thing about Oklahoma State.”
It’s unclear how valuable a star cornerback is in Pokémon Go, but in the reality of college football, it’s priceless.