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The Vatican now has its own version of Pokemon Go, which encourages people to collect biblical figures instead of Pokemon and engage in pious actions through the game. Similar AR apps and various other gamification tactics can be employed to teach, change and reinforce behaviour. We explore the insights behind how the brands gamified AR app is helping people engage with religion.

Fundación Ramón Pané, a Catholic evangelical group, developed Follow JC Go, a mobile game designed on the blueprint of Pokemon Go, where users can virtually follow Jesus Christ and collect religious figures instead of Pokemon. The app was released in preparation for World Youth Day 2019, an international Catholic event focused on engaging with the youth. In the game, as players encounter saints and biblical characters, they have to answer religious questions correctly to add them to their Evangelization Team to then complete other challenges. Just like Pokemon Go, the game tracks users’ positions via GPS and it tries to nudge them into pious actions; for example by prompting them to stop and pray when they’re near a church. The app also allows users to donate to charity.

AR app brings gamification to religious discovery AR app brings gamification to religious discovery
udo Oslo (2017) ©

The game currently only has a Spanish version, but other languages are set to be added soon. Besides Spanish being the second most spoken language in the world, two-in-fiveCatholics in the US are Hispanics, and next year’s World Youth Day will be held in Panama. Pokemon Go has already demonstrated the efficacy of its potential educational uses. For Earth Day 2018, the app was used to invite players to earn in-game rewards by picking up rubbish at selected events. It has also been employed to engage people in ecology and conservation, and to teach kids about augmented reality. Similarly, gamification tactics have been used to change behaviour for different purposes. Environmental startup Urban Rivers built a robot that can be remotely controlled by anyone via the Internet to pick up litter from urban rivers.

Edoardo Biscossi is a behavioural analyst at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. He has a degree in Political Sciences and a MSc in Consumer Behaviour. He’s interested in culture, people, art, the future, the niche, and the mass.

Canvas8

16 Nov 18
2 min read

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