That’s what Willie Diaz said when asked if the app is useful for finding potential partners.
Diaz’s friend, Josue Quinonez, said he had already met three women by using the app.
“It’s not as shallow, it’s more like we have a common interest, we like to go outside and discover new things,” Diaz said. “Discovering new things is so much more dope than 'I’m going to sit at home and swipe left or swipe right.'”
Diaz and Quinonez were standing in the Myriad Market Hall in San Francisco on Wednesday night, a carnival-like plaza with street food stalls and pop songs blasting through the speakers.
But unlike a carnival, the crowd consisted of 20-somethings wearing Pokémon Go costumes or accessories, their eyes slightly glazed from one too many $4 Jell-Oshots (free if you showed the bartender a rare Snorlax creature caught via the Pokémon app).
Myriad’s nostalgic atmosphere for the tipsy 20-somethings represents how Millennial players are using Pokémon Go — an augmented-reality twist on the popular '90sNintendo video game — to interact with each other in a new, sometimes romantic, way.
The festival was the ending of a citywide Pokémon Go bar crawl, where thousands of enthusiastic “trainers” started at either Dolores Park or the Embarcadero and walked the city along Market Street with their eyes glued to their smartphones to catch Pokémon monsters — cartoons that appear on the app's screen, overlaid on real-world surroundings using GPS and augmented reality.
The game is inherently more social than other smartphone games. Pokémon Go forces players to leave their house and visit popular monuments or areas where they can catch Pokémon. It has features that encourage players to collaborate with each other, such as teaming up to fight monsters. It's also wildly popular: It took just seven days for the game to reach 10 million downloads, a record for a mobile game, estimates researcher SensorTower.
An emerging dating scene is one of the brighter side effects of widespread use, which has been linked to a mounting list of dangers, from players getting shot, robbed and stabbed, to others falling off a cliff or driving a car into a police car.
Quinonez said the game was a wakeup call to meet new people. A natural introvert, Quinonez said the social nature of Pokémon Go allows him to get out of his comfort zone and speak with other gamers to bond over Pokémons caught or sighted.
“We’re playing the game on our phone, a lot of the time we are looking down, but when I see someone looking down, too, I’m like ‘yo I gotta talk to you, too.’ I get excited,” he explained.
Like Diaz, Evadora Zheng found herself having more meaningful and fun conversations with fellow Pokémon Go players, instead of talking to men just because they looked good enough to swipe right.
“I think the great thing about Pokémon Go is you’re able to talk to strangers without judging them aesthetically like how you have to do on Tinder.”
It’s no coincidence the game produces this kind of love connection, as players of the game tend to be in prime dating age. Some 83% of a survey of Pokémon Go players said they were 18 to 34, according to the mobile market research firm MFour.
Dating sites are already capitalizing on Pokémon Go’s romantic nature. Project Fixup, a Web service that matches users with pairs based on their interests, launched Wednesday. Called PokeDates, it received so many applicants it temporarily broke the website, , said chief operating officer Dank Korenevsky.
The browser-based PokeDates invites users to submit applications with their interests and preferences for a "PokéMate," as well as a schedule of free time to meet with a partner and go catch virtual monsters.
“(Pokémon Go) could be a really good way to break the ice to get into a normal conversation,” Korenevsky told USA TODAY by phone. “And when they run out of Pokeballs, they could sit down at a bar or a café and get to know each other some more.”
Tinder itself is attempting to reel in Pokémon Go users looking for companionship. The West Hollywood, Calif.-based social discovery service launched Tinder Social on Thursday, a feature that allows users to create a group and categorize it by activity, such as "Happy Hour Anyone?", "Watch the Game with Us" and even "Pokémon Catching." Similar groups can match with each other and do the activity all together.
Zheng said the game has prompted her to interact with strangers more, like when she saw a group of guys on the street playing and started teasing them about it. She said the game can even act as a filter for finding dates — if someone else is playing the game, it shows her they have a shared common interest in the “geeky” video game.
“It really helps filter out the people, because if you see a really cute, attractive person playing Pokémon, it shows you that they are not afraid to embrace the more geeky, nerdy side of themselves as well,” Zheng said. “That’s something I totally value in a significant other.”