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How Virgin Pulse is Like Pokémon Go

July 11, 2016 / Uncategorized

Gamification, Virgin Pulse, Pokemon GoIf you’re like many families around the world this weekend, you came down with Pokémon Go fever. Luckily though, this fever carries with it unexpected healthy side effects.

Just days after the app’s release in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, Pokémon Go is already a social phenomenon, credited with using augmented reality to motivate children and adults alike to engage in physical activity as they search for and capture these fictional creatures. Social media outlets highlight stories of users “accidentally exercising” and communities coming together as they venture to real-world landmarks – or Pokéstops – in search of the next addition to their Pokémon collections.

Hats off to Pikachu and crew for serving as a case study on the powerful roles technology and gamification play in driving positive behavioral change.

Technology is more often viewed as a distraction in our lives and a detriment to our health. However, just like the Pokémon Go app, our Virgin Pulse app serves as a fun, educational resource that also motivates organizations to increase physical activity and overall wellbeing.

At Virgin Pulse we use addictive technology and core principles of gamification as a solution to improving employee wellbeing. With every product release supported by research from the world’s leading behavioral and social scientists, our platform drives sustainable healthy habits and creates better, more productive organizations.

Virgin Pulse, ShapeUp and Global Corporate Challenge united to create a global force for good

How does Virgin Pulse motivate employees just like Pokémon Go encourages physical activity through the use of gamification? Consider these three elements:


Virgin Pulse research shows that competition is a vital component of driving behavior change, which is why we offer the most robust and engaging challenge platform on the market. Much like Pokémon Go users can “battle” each other at gym locations designated on the app’s real-time map as well as compete internally to grow their cache of creatures, Virgin Pulse members compete in challenges and fight for the top spot in leaderboards.


Like Pokémon Go, Virgin Pulse provides challenging, yet easily accomplished goals and incentives which are essential to encouraging healthy habits. Similarly, the more you play, the more you earn. Within minutes of using the program, members of Virgin Pulse can earn points and reach different levels of achievement.

Social Connections

With Pokémon Go, players find themselves physically gathering together at gyms and real-world designated locations where users battle against other users. This element of the game is a great way to encourage users to invite friends and family to participate alongside them. It can also lead to dramatic results in changed behavior as social connects are known to greatly impact wellbeing success. With Virgin Pulse, the network is a lot tighter, with colleagues competing together with the ability to invite friends and family support and maintain engagement.

It’s wonderful to hear all the initial, positive stories about how Pokémon Go encourages children to get up and get moving. At Virgin Pulse, we know this is a key first step toward positive change. Using technology and gamification, we not only improve people’s physical health, but all aspects of their wellbeing, transforming the way businesses operate as a result. Yet, it all starts with making change easy, attainable and fun.

If you’re already a Virgin Pulse member and you’re looking for ways to increase your activity points, Pokémon Go is a great way to raise the bar.

Bryan Mahoney is the Director of Content Marketing at Virgin Pulse. He brings more than a decade’s worth of experience as a content producer and blends his interests in all things wellbeing to help organizations become the best places to work. A former marathon champ, he now balances running with family by constantly chasing after his two-year-old daughter, Gia.

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