What Made Pokemon Go Successful and Where Is It Now

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Olga Padulosi
What Made Pokemon Go Successful and Where Is It Now

Table of Content:

  1. Background of Pokemon Go
  2. Challenges Faced by Pokemon Go
  3. Pokemon Go Launch Date
  4. Pokemon Go Revenue and Downloads
    • The Pokemon Go App iPhone Downloads
    • Pokemon Go Downloads to Date
  5. Final Thoughts

In 2016, Pokemon Go was released, which made our childhood favorite anime franchise come to life with the help of Augmented Reality. Pokemon Go was developed and distributed by Niantics for both Android and IOs devices in partnership with the Pokemon Company. It functions with the use of Mobile GPS to search, train, and battle Pokemon. This App is free for people to download with several in-app purchases since it follows a freemium business model. It initially introduced 150 species upon its launch and is now around 500 species as of 2019.

The app received a lot of positive reviews with many people appreciating the whole concept. In 2016, it had become one of the most successful and used mobile apps. It was downloaded more than 500 million times worldwide by the end of 2016. It also put into the map the AR and location-based technology.

These are only the tip of the iceberg about Pokemon Go. To know more, let's dive in a little deeper to their specifications in terms of how the game works, their progress as a mobile app, profits, revenues, etc.

Background of Pokemon Go

It all started as an April's Fool Joke by Tsunekazu Ishihara of The Pokemon Company and Satoru Iwata for their collaboration with Google. Ishihara, who is a fan of Niantic's Ingress, recognized its concept as a potential match of the Pokemon Franchise.

Niantic utilized the power of Crowdsourcing data derived from Ingress to spread PokeGyms and PokeStops. It also got information from Google Maps to pinpoint the spawning location of particular Pokemon Species based on particular areas and regions.

Two years of hard work later, Niantic declared that they are conducting a beta test. Which was then exclusive in Japan that will allow players to help pol such as Australia and New Zealand in April 2016 and then followed by the United States in May 2016.

Challenges Faced by Pokemon Go

It was apparent that during the release of the game, Pokemon Go experience multiple sever black-outs due to heavy use. This resulted in authentication errors and crashing the disturbed the players of the game which continued for several days. Players were not able to access their accounts using the Pokemon Trainer Club accounts for the first two days since the launch. Only those who used Gmail accounts were able to log in to their game accounts.

Aside from those mentioned above, there were more problems that the App encountered, especially during their releases. Here is a list of these problems.

  • By July 16, 2016, the release of Pokemon go in Europe was still fresh; however, the servers experienced malfunctions due to a hacking group named "PoodleCorp."
  • On July 17, 2016, Canada also experienced the same problem that the rest of Europe did.
  • Mid-July 2016, the App had a significant bug that made Pokemon Go's tracking features unavailable for use.
  • On July 30, 2016, the footstep feature was removed by Niantics.
  • On August 1, Several players reached out to complain about a bug that interchanges their captured Pokemon with another species.

Pokemon Go Launch Date

Pokemon Go launch date was on July 6, 2016, in the United States, New Zealand, and Australia. However, Niantic was overwhelmed with the issues including problems with their server. This leads their CEO to declare pause in the operation until they will be able to make the necessary adjustments. Finally, after these adjustments, Pokemon Go debut in the European market on July 13, 2016. However, its release in France was delayed for several days dues to the terrorist attacks in Nice on July 14, 2016. By the end of July 2016, several third-party apps shut down, easing the server strain on Niantic and making the Asian, Central Africa, and South Africa release possible on July 20,16.

In Asia, Indonesia was the first country who experienced the magic of Pokemon go even though the release in the Asian region was not until August 6. However, South Korea, Japan, and China's version and App usage experienced a few hiccups.

In the rest of Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, the game was released by August 2016 except for Myanmar. While in Central Asia, Macau, and Balkans, the game was released in September of 2016. It was then slowly released in the following months before 2017 in the rest of South Asia and the Middle East.

As of the 11th of September 2018, the mobile game is available for download in the Google Play and App store of Russia. However, there was no statement of release coming from Niantic itself about this.

Pokemon Go Revenue and Downloads

Let's start with Pokemon Go Revenue. In August 2016, Pokemon Go was awarded The Most Revenue grossed by a mobile app by the Guinness World Records in its first month when it netted $206 million. It also earned the Fastest Time to Gross $100 million in the mobile app category in just 20 days upon release.

When the mobile App was downloaded more than 500 million times, the Pokemon go revenue stats earned $500 million in profit. It became the quickest mobile app game to earn that amount. With that, it was also awarded as Breakout Hit of 2016 by the App Store. It was also the most search mobile game in 2016. During its Halloween event this year, Niantic earned 133% of revenue, which made it earn around $23.3 million in just the four days between October 25 and 29 and $10 million around October 18 and 22.

In February 2017, the game hit $1 billion of revenue after being downloaded more than 650 million times throughout the globe, making it the fastest mobile game to achieve this feat. It also earned the best app award from the Crunchies Award Event. In June of the same year, it was downloaded for around 750 million times resulting in an increase in revenue to about $1.2 billion.

By 2018, Pokemon Go profit is $104 million in a month. By September of the same year, through its in-app purchase, the game earned over $2 billion. $670 million of these revenues we from Japan while the United States brings in $550 million then followed by Germany, which generated $88 million in revenue. The United Kingdom raised $86 million while Australia shared a fraction with only $52 million. Overall, it grossed $1.3 billion, which makes the accumulated Pokemon Go revenue to date since its launch date around $3 billion.

Pokemon Go global yearly revenue numbers. Source: statista.com

The Pokemon Go App iPhone Downloads

As of 2019, the Pokemon Go App iPhone Download is rated at 3.8 stars in the Apple App Store. It is currently suggested to be played by kids nine years and above. Many reviews both positive and negative are highlighted in the App store.

Since 2016, about 80% of iPhone players who play the game make in-app purchases. These purchases help boost the revenue of the game further. In the US alone, 6 million Pokemon Go players spent 20$ with in-app purchases, and 3 million users spent in the range of $20 to $60. There were also almost 480,000 players who spent more than $100 for in house purchases, which is where the bulk of the Pokemon Go income's revenue is sourced.

Pokemon Go yearly revenue: Android vs iOS. Source: statista.com

Pokemon Go Downloads to Date

After a few hours of the game's release, it was able to reach App Store's Free and Top Grossing Charts. It has become the fastest App to achieve this feat, defeating the Clash Royal. It was also the most download app within the first week of release. In fact, it was downloaded over 10 million times within the first week of its publication in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand.

Here's a timeline showing the increase and decrease of Pokemon Go downloads to date:

  • On July 12, 2016, it became the most used mobile game in the US, with 21 million active players using the game.
  • By July 13, 2016, it reached 15 million downloads.
  • On July 15, 2016, 1.3 million players were using the game in the Netherlands even though the Apps were not yet released officially in the country on the said date.
  • This is also the time where the App reached its most number of players in the US
  • During the Pokemon Go Japan Official date release, around 10 million people downloaded the App in the first 3 hours of its release.
  • On July 31, 2016, over 100 million users downloaded the App throughout the world.
  • On August 8, Pokemon Go reached a milestone in Google Play when it was downloaded more than 100 million times in just under 33 days of being in the market.
  • In February 2017, the game was downloaded for more than 650 million times.
  • By June 2017, the total download of the game reached 750 million
  • In May 2018, the company Niantic announced that they have officially reached 800 million downloads.
  • In 2019, the mobile App has reached a billion international downloads earning more than $3 billion in profits. In May 2018, it currently had 147 million active users monthly.

According to multiple reports, the app retention of Pokemon Go is around 60%. This means that people who download Pokemon Go continue to use it even three days after the download. This is a crucial aspect to look at to determine the level of interest of consumers towards the game itself.

Final Thoughts

Not only does Pokemon Go piqued the interest of kids, but it also excited many millennials who had the Pokemon Series as a significant part of their childhood.

Many appreciated the fact that the Pokemon Go Franchise is coming to life. Kids who only watched catching Pokemon in TVs are now able to do it themselves. The most significant edge of this game that many people appreciate is that it encourages individuals to get out into the open. The GPS of the App is relatively hard to trick. Unless you are using GPS spooking, and even when you do, a system detects that you are using this, you are at the risk of getting banned. 

Many people started to walk from homes so that they will be able to hatch their eggs, and many people who are technically strangers gather to raid gyms. This has resulted in people being encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle. Many were also enticed to socialize and meet new friends with the use of this App.

Indeed, Pokemon Go has achieved many feats that were never completed by any games in the past. Pokemon Go is no longer in the top 10 games by revenue, but its commercial success is unquestionable. It is also a pioneer in terms of integrating groundbreaking technology and changing how people play games entirely.

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