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Pokémon Go Isn’t Just Media Hype: It’s A Game Changer

Those who can’t understand the appeal of wandering around outdoors, searching for imaginary creatures while staring at a cell phone, could be forgiven for wondering if Pokémon Go is really that big a deal – or if it’s just another example of the media taking a momentary fad and blowing it way out of proportion.

Apple iPhone5s with Pikachu from Pokemon Go application

No one knows how long the phenomenon will last, but rest assured: it really is that big a deal. How big has Pokémon Go become? Read on.

Record Downloads

Aside from the number of oblivious Pokémon Go players you bump into during your everyday life, the best way to measure the popularity of this summer blockbuster game is by the number of downloads the app has had. And TechCrunch reports, thanks to research firm App Annie, that by the last weekend of July Pokémon Go had been installed by more than 100 million App Store users. 25 million downloads were recorded over the last ten days of the month alone, and it only took 19 days from launch for the app to reach 50 million Android downloads – that’s four times faster than any other app in history. And Apple says it saw more Pokémon Go downloads in the app’s first week of availability than for any other application, ever.

Pokemon Go on a smart phone

People aren’t just downloading the game and quickly disregarding it. The research shows that the game’s open rate and average amount of time spent with Pokémon Go are surprisingly high, even higher than Facebook experienced after the social platform was released on Android. App Annie credits this to the number of people playing the game during times when they previously weren’t on their phones.

Impressive Revenue

It also turns out that Pokémon Go is having a major impact on the app economy. The game is bringing in average daily revenue of $10 million, which needless to say is an enormous amount for a game so new. More interesting, however, is that this income is apparently “new” revenue, as other popular apps on Google Play and the Apple Store are not suffering from players “changing games” and abandoning their previous favorites. In other words, Pokémon Go is growing the overall app economy, rather than just shifting revenue from one product to a different one.

Pokemon Go

This has major implications for the app economy and future development. The incredible success of Pokémon Go has already led developers to begin research into new AR (augmented reality) games that blend device gaming with real life experiences. Tech Crunch also speculates that new attempts will be made to create AR apps which would factor into marketing approaches for local businesses, in attempts to generate new foot traffic to their stores.

One retailer desperately in need of new marketing gimmicks is Sears, and the company has recently been inspired by the Pokémon Go phenomenon to introduce a virtual scavenger hunt feature into its Sears app. Of course, Niantic Labs (the company behind the Pokémon app) has a long history of AR gaming, so the learning company for new entrants could be huge.

But make no mistake, this isn’t just the equivalent of a Christmas-time fad. Pokémon Go has drawn back the curtain on a vast new opportunity for app developers and marketers.

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