Pokemon GO has been a huge success for Nintendo and Niantic so far, climbing to the top of the app stores. The game also quickly rose through the ranks of highest-grossing apps.
It has been ranked as the most memorable app of 2016 by App Annie. By attracting millions of non-gamers, it reached a level of success that eludes even some of the most successful traditional video games. This was thanks to the game’s beloved IP, simple mechanics, real-world augmented reality gameplay, and perhaps most of all, its social nature.
The game attracted more than just traditional mobile gamers and rose in a breathtaking fashion, reaching $800 million in consumer spend in 110 days (by the end of 2016, the game reached over $950 million in consumer spend).
This was far faster than some of the most successful mobile games of all time. To put Pokémon GO’s success in a broader perspective, its global consumer spend in 2016 exceeded the total worldwide box office gross of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Pokémon GO’s monetization in 2016 demonstrates the viability of novel gameplay ideas in mobile gaming.
Pokémon GO’s contribution to familiarize the consumers with the concept of augmented reality (AR) cannot be questioned. Importantly for the app space, this familiarization did not take place in living rooms with special AR devices. Instead, it happened in the real world with mobile phones. If this is any indication, the future of AR is in mobile apps.
After years of struggling with multiple consoles and seeing major financial losses, Nintendo’s shares have soared since the release of Pokemon GO. It will be interesting to see if Pokemon GO can hold on to the extraordinary popularity it has generated so far, but there’s no doubt that it’s been a huge financial boon for Nintendo.