Pokémon Go! Post-Launch Projections
Although the excitement of Pokémon Go’s July 2016 launch has waned, the app still rakes in over $300,000 in daily revenue from iPhone users alone in 2017 (Statistia.com). The augmented reality game has shattered records in the mobile gaming industry since its release and has earned numerous awards. Reportedly, out of total hours Android OS users spent playing the top twenty Android games in Q3 of 2016, an astounding 45% was spent playing Pokémon Go. More recently, in January of 2017, it became the fastest mobile gaming app to hit $1 billion in revenues.
The craze behind Niantic’s Pokémon Go launch sparked a massive commercial response and caused huge fluctuations in Nintendo’s market cap value as investors initially thought Nintendo had produced the game (Bloomberg.com). Third-party developers quickly emerged with services designed to enhance the Pokémon Go experience while multiple businesses looked to capitalize on the vast crowds of people willing to travel to new places with the app. Creative marketing tactics included special events like the Sacramento Pokémon Go Pub Crawl organized by the Sac Social Club, an effort to bring business to some of the local bars in the Sacramento area. In Akron, Ohio, a number of local sponsors set up a Pokémon Go event on July 13th in the downtown area to lure the crowds as well. Around the same time, wireless provider T-Mobile announced it would offer one year of free data for customers while using the Pokémon Go app.
Niantic has staged it’s own official events and has announced periodic upgrades to game features to keep the buzz going among the app’s core market of true Pokémon fans. For Halloween of 2016, the company held its first in-game event which, according to the Sensortower.com blog, provided a revenue boost of about 133% within a five-day span. This year, Niantic announced another week-long event, the Easter 2017 “Eggstravaganza,” where users could catch rare Pokémon, earn extra gaming perks and purchase lucky eggs at half price.
The company’s marketing strategy seems to be working well so far. It still remains one of the most popular gaming apps in the U.S. According to Statista.com, 8% of mobile users accessed the Pokémon Go app in February of 2017. Behind Google Play at 14%, Pokémon Go tied with the Words With Friends app as the second-most popular mobile gaming app during that month. It will be interesting to see what big events Niantic have planned for summer 2017 and how outside companies will move to capitalize on these events.
While Pokémon Go isn’t the first app to use augmented reality or location-based-services, it is the first of its kind in terms of the level of interaction and the way it combines these functions. To put it differently, it is the most successful at integrating game-like functions into an augmented overlay that lets users interact with the world around them.
The future looks promising as fans have high hopes for potential new developments with wearables and other augmented tech functionality. Marketers can potentially “pull” the app’s core group (specifically 18 to 30-year-olds) by purchasing lure modules — an in-game item designed to attract Pokémon to a Pokéstop. “Push” tactics like targeted ads or public events designed to draw users to these locations are also viable marketing options.
While events such as the 2017 “Eggstravaganza” and others reportedly planned for summer 2017 are sure to keep the app’s core fans engaged, developers at Niantic are surely looking for ways to attract and sustain new users. What will be the most effective way to accomplish this? UploadVR.com points out that Google Cardboard was one of the third-party entities that went into the development of the Pokémon Go software. The article suggests the VR augmentation aspect as a possible capability in the near future. If this is indeed in the works, it will be a great way to sustain the buzz surrounding the app and grab more first-time users. An enhanced VR Pokemon Go experience is an exciting concept, but how much developers plan to build on this intriguing capability remains to be seen.
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