For mobile gamers, the story is already well-worn in the telling. In 2014 The Pokémon Company announced that it was developing a mobile game app based on their iconic “Pokémon” franchise with augmented-reality game developer Niantic. Said game, called “Pokémon Go,” was released in July of 2016 and became a momentary pop culture juggernaut. By 2017 however the hype has died down and “Pokémon Go” no longer made front-page news. But to say that the mobile game, which simulated hunting for Pokémon using GPS map data on a virtual environment, was on the way out would be to speak prematurely.
In fact, as The Verge reports Niantic’s “Pokémon Go” game app has not only rebounded from its second-year slump but has actually already surpassed its earnings from its famous 2016 debut year. Sensor Tower, a mobile analytics firm, notes that in the previous year of 2019 the Niantic app has gone on to earn over $900 million worth of revenue worldwide from its in-game purchases. Even better, this recovery was on an upward trend from its earnings in 2018, which was the year it bounced back from the abysmal losses in spending and regular player-base from 2017, following its premiere.
Mobile games have a tendency to become overnight sensations with players downloading the app en masse on their mobile devices for the first few weeks, months, or year. But eventually the user-base gets bored and moves on to the next new thing, causing the game app to wither from little commerce until it gets shut down. The Pokémon Company and Niantic’s “Pokémon Go” seemed to follow this “early-rise, quick-decline” trend, making $832 million during its first year of success which them tumbled into only $582 million in the following year.
Of course some of the customer die-out for “Pokémon Go” on its second year was probably due to Niantic not yet fully implementing all the features that were boasted on the game app’s initial teaser. But better late than never, as some might say; by 2018 there were plenty enough new features, game modes and other stuff to do in “Pokémon Go” that player numbers old and new began to recover along with its profit ($816 million on year 3). While the days of crowds congregating in odd places around towns and cities are a thing of the past where “Pokémon Go” is concerned, these figures are proof that this game is no flash in the pan, but a potential long-running money-making spinoff of the Nintendo-based game and media franchise.
Aside from “Pokémon,” Niantic has also lent its AR-mobile game development muscles to Warner Bros. and its “Harry Potter” franchise, with the Wizarding World-themed game “Wizards Unite” releasing last 2019.
Image from Gaming on Phone