Effects of pokémon GO on physical activity and psychological and social outcomes: A systematic review

Jung Eun Lee, Nan Zeng, Yoonsin Oh, Daehyoung Lee, Zan Gao

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Augmented reality (AR) mobile game, Pokémon GO, leverages gamification and location tracking technology to encourage players to walk in different places to catch Pokémon characters in real-world settings. The systematic review sought to explore the impact Pokémon GO has on players’ physical activity (PA), and psychological and social outcomes. Six research databases (PubMed, SPORTDiscus, PsycInfo, Web of Science, Science Direct, and Scopus) were used. Study inclusion criteria were: (1) quantitative research published in English; (2) examined the relationships between or impact of Pokémon GO on PA, psychological, and/or social outcomes; and (3) included participants played or exposed to Pokémon GO. Thirty-six studies were included with a total sample of 38,724 participants. Players had significantly greater PA than non-players in terms of daily steps and number of days spent in moderate PA. Pokémon GO game also improved players’ social interactions and their mood/affects. Selective attention and concentration improved in adolescents and memory improved in young adults after playing the game. Findings suggest playing Pokémon GO could promote meaningful improvements in walking behavior, as well as psychological and social well-being. More multidimensional research with randomized controlled trial design is needed to identify factors that influence adoption and sustainability of Pokémon GO playing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1860
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Augmented reality games
  • Augmented virtual reality
  • Mobile augmented games
  • Psychological wellbeing
  • Social interaction


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