Pokémon Go – How the game became the biggest Revenue Earner ever!

Pokémon Go is a GPS-based free to play amplified reality Android and iOS mobile game developed by the company Niantic. It allows for in-app purchases. Released on July 16, gamers can train, battle, and capture virtual Pokémon who make an appearance all over in the “real” world.

Instant Popularity

Pokémon Go was officially launched in the US, New Zealand, and Australia on 6th July 2016. Within 24 hours, it topped the ‘Free’ and ‘Top Grossing’ charts of the American App Store.

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By July 11, nearly 7.5 million users in the US had downloaded the game. Over 5 percent of Android gadgets in America had the game installed in it. Because of this Nintendo, a 33 percent share owner in The Pokémon Company, saw an increase of $7.5 billion in its market value in just 2 days after the launch.  Barely two days of release, it broke the record of the popular dating app ‘Tinder’ in the US.

Because of the instant popularity and high demand of Pokémon Go, servers in Australia faced increased strain and some problems, a week after launch of the game. John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic, stated that release of the game in other areas was paused till the company fixed the issues.

Pokémon Go has received favorable and positive reviews from varied critics. The game has been described as being very enjoyable despite its issues. A critic even applauded the efficiency of the game in encouraging exercise.

Pokémon Go has raised many safety concerns such as getting lured into a real world place where a player may get robbed/mugged, distraction during play, fall injuries, accidents on road, etc.  Niantic has come up with several guidelines and advice on personal safety when playing the game.

Pokemon Go – Revenue and Investment

  The augmented reality game makes money through in-app purchases, it is fee free for people.  By July 11,  Pokemon Go already making a revenue of $1.6 million daily just at the Apple Store, was downloaded more than 7.5 million times.  On a revenue scale, it surpassed the record of the top revenue earner game of its time ‘Clash Royal’ which made $350,00 per day. Though after the hype, the earnings may go low, the fact remains that the game will be enhanced with more features and released in more countries.  It is estimated that Pokemon Go will go on to make a revenue of $290 million per month.

Pokemon Go was created with an investment of $30 million, of which the Tokyo based company Pokemon Company invested $20 million while Nintendo and Google added $0 million.

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The Gameplay

After downloading the Pokémon Go app, a player needs to create an avatar. You can select the hair, eye color, style, and skin of the avatar as well as the outfits from a select few choices. Once created, the avatar will be displayed at the current location of the player alongside a map of the adjacent landscape. The map may include features like many Pokémon gyms and PokéStops. These are usually situated at parks, memorials, churches, and other well-known meeting places.

In order for the virtual avatar to move, players need to move around in real life. Varied Pokémon reside in varied regions of the world. For e.g., aquatic Pokémon typically live near water. Any meeting with a Pokémon by a player will be visible in either augmented reality (AR) form or alongside a pre-rendered surrounding. The AR mode view makes use of the gyroscope and camera on the mobile gadget of the player to show a Pokémon’s image as if it were in the real, and not virtual, world. An in-game camera is also accessible for players to take photos of the Pokémon that they meet, in both active and non-active AR mode.

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There is a major difference between Pokémon Go and other Pokémon series installments. Pokémon Go players do not have to fight with wild Pokémon to apprehend them. Instead it has a distinct capture system wherein a player needs to throw a Poké Ball at the correct time with the correct amount of force to catch successfully. Once a wild Pokémon is caught, a player will get 2 kinds of in-game money, i.e., stardust and candies. The evolutionary class chain of a Pokémon helps determine the kind of candies that a player can get after a successful capture. Candies and stardust can be used by players to enhance the combat power of a Pokémon. The evolution tree of each Pokémon features its own kind of candy which is useful in evolving or going a level up. A player may also give back the Pokémon to the Pokémon professor so as to get 1 additional candy and make space for additional Pokémon.

Varied in-game actions will earn experience points for players. Increase in experience points ensures that a player goes to the next level. At level 5, players can fight at a Pokémon gym and become a part of one of the 3 (blue, red, or yellow) teams which act as bigger blocs inside the Pokémon Go virtual world. Entry of a player into a Pokémon gym, in control of a player belonging to a different team, allows the new player to challenge the leader of the gym so as to reduce the ‘prestige’ of the gym. After the gym’s prestige is reduced to zero, the new winning player can assert control over the gym and deposit 1 Pokémon to defend the gym. On similar lines, a team can battle the leader of a gym within their control so as to upgrade the gym’s prestige.

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Conception and Development of Pokemon Go

John Hanke, the founder and CEO of Niantic, was previously involved in the creation of Google Maps and Google Earth. He wanted accurate mapping to be an integral part of Pokémon Go and hence strived hard for the mapping to be the best.

The next challenge was the location of the gyms and PokéStops that appear in the game. The data pool for this was created by users of the beta version of augmented-reality multi-player game Ingress.

In the initial phase of Ingress, a data collection of public art assembled via geo-tagged pictures on Google, as well as a small pool of portal sites for the game as per their historical markers, was created by Niantic. This pool helped define the types of areas that would be integrated into the game. Later, Ingress players were asked to provide info about sites which they believed would make good portals. Out of the 15 million subsequent worldwide location submissions, 5 million were selected. This portal data became the beginning of Pokémon Go.

An additional collection of mapping data was then created to determine the sites where specific Pokémon would appear. This map had geographical markers as per the habitat of the Pokémon. Thus, water-type Pokémon typically appear next to water bodies.

New additional features

Some features which may be added to Pokémon Go in the future are listed below:

  • Developing gyms and PokéStops to provide more gameplay depth.
  • Trading to promote cooperation between players of the same team.
  • Augmented reality 3D context goggles, which may initially be available for indoors only use.
  • Pokémon Go Plus, a Bluetooth wearable device which permits players to walk without constantly looking at their smart gadget. The Plus vibrates when near a PokéStop or a Pokémon. A button can then be pressed to catch the Pokémon.

Pokemon Creator – Net Worth

AS Pokemon Go becomes a cult game for the smartphone generation, the man who conceived the original Pokemon Satoshi Tajiri, has a net worth of $6.5 billion.


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