Pokémon Go is a threat to labour market productivity, especially among millennials

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

If you think you’re seeing more people than normal staring intently at their mobile phones, you’re right.

‘Pokémon Go’ has taken the world by storm, especially younger generations.

As far as fads go, the surge in interest is near, if not completely unprecedented. When you think of other recent game phenomenons such as Angry Birds or Candy Crush, it’s hard to remember interest in those games being anywhere near as strong, at least instantaneously.

It’s become that addictive for some that there’s been a swell of outrage on Tuesday with users unable to access the Pokémon Go application.

Oh the humanity!

As someone labelled a Millennial (I’m 35), I simply don’t get it. Thankfully, it appears that I’m not alone.

Chris Weston, IG Markets Melbourne-based chief market strategist, has summed up nicely what so many non-Pokémon Go users are thinking at present.

It’s a boom for Nintendo’s share price — which has risen 40% since the game was released last week — but a potential bust for labour market productivity should the craze seen since its launch continue.

Here’s Weston:

Stock wise it’s hard to go past Nintendo at present and the scope to monetize the Pokeman Go is huge. It is a truly incredible offering. Still, as someone who missed the original Pokémon craze, I am finding the idea of millennials transfixed on their phones through the streets of Melbourne like a scene from the Walking Dead quite concerning. Short the AUD alone on the reduced productivity this is going to cause seems logical!

Clearly Weston is being tongue-in-cheek, but I’m sure there’s more than a few readers are nodding their heads too.

It’s clearly not a threat to productivity levels, at least not yet. Indeed, it could lead to a spike in medical-related injuries as a result of great swathes of people spend more time looking at their screens rather than where they are going.

Think repetitive strain injuries, accidents, corrective eyesight surgery and spinal realignments. The possibilities are endless.

Perhaps on that score, beyond shorting the Australian dollar as Weston suggests, maybe it’s time to go long listed medical services firms.

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