It's been a few months since Pokémon GO made its official debut, and although there's some pretty cool new features being added, it was inevitable that the app would struggle to maintain its initial level of success and popularity. After breaking several records for sales and downloads at launch, Pokémon GO has been steadily decreasing in usage and popularity, with recent reports now saying that we're at "normal" levels.
The most jarring statistic is that the paying population on the game has dropped 79 percent. While this may look quite negative at first, bear in mind that Pokémon GO virtually doubled the number of spenders in mobile gaming in the days and weeks after its release. The app is currently doing strong numbers regardless, managing to account for 28 percent of total mobile sales in August, six times that of Candy Crush Saga in second place. Moreover, sales for other Pokémon related merchandise have jumped by 233 percent over this last month, so it seems that the app hasn't quite run out of steam yet. Check out the full rundown by Slice Intelligence here, it's quite a fascinating read
What do you think? Will Pokémon GO continue to be profitable? How long do you think it'll be leading charts? Drop us a comment in the section below.
Of course it did. Hasn't Niantic been on a ban spree lately? If you deny access to people with rooted devices all of the sudden, it's only logical that a huge chunk of the userbase is gone the next day.
Doesn't surprise me, everyone I knew that was playing this game a few months ago has stopped. It was just another mobile game fad like Angry Birds, like Flappy Bird, like Candy Crush.
The biggest problem is that all you ever find are Pidgeys and Rattas.
Further proof that mobile gaming is fickle.
Meh, the exposure was the important part.
@shaneoh Really though. I'm very interested in how sales for Sun and Moon will be compared to previous entries.
I am still playing but the game should stay rewarding after 100 or so caught Pokemons. At lvl 23 I should be able to catch more rare Pokemons more frequently, get more better Pokeballs from Pokestops and more 10 km eggs. These are some fundamental design flaws in otherwise entertaining game. The game should evolve with the player level instead of staying pretty much the same.
@SLIGEACH_EIRE Yeah, because console and PC gamers will be buying and playing the same games they are playing today in 6 months... oh wait, no they won't. They'll all be playing whatever game is flavour of the month too.
Pokemon Go is a gaming success story whether you like it or not
This happens to all popular mobile games. I doubt the numbers will go up unless there's a major update, such as adding Johto or Alola pokemon.
it was smart of them not to attach themselves too directly to p-go. while it may've spiked their share prices, they knew the nature of mobile gaming, specifically the freemium model. they managed to benefit, and are well insulated from the decline. i doubt kimishima's much of a gamer, but he's one savvy businessman.
I don't understand how anyone put any money into it. That's what I love about it. No ads, and I don't need to buy anything...
@Incarta I still play Super Mario Maker a year after its release and Mario Kart 8 nearly 2 and a half years after its release. Look at the weekly game sale charts, it contains games that are at least a year old. Pokemon GO has been out how long? 2 months. But it could be argued, live fast, die young.
Preorder numbers pre and post launch would be interesting too. I don't think Pokemon has had this much attention since gen 1.
Not just a mobile thing, this always happens for games that are free to play. With such a low bar for entry you get everyone at the start. Why not? It's free to give it a spin. But inevitably the people who were less interested fall off. It's not like a retail game where you have to have a certain level of interest to put your money down.
That said, I expect interest will pick up a bit with some updates that might come out. It'll never be as big as it was for sure. But when they add the 2nd generation of Pokemon? All of a sudden you have another reason to walk around with the game.
Its about right, the novelty wears off and folks get on with life.
Hardly surprising since it was a fad. That is not to say the game is bad (me and my family love it) just lots of people tried it out because it was free and popular so it makes sense that many would leave finding the game not to be in their taste.
What's important right now is Niantic needs to consistently update the game to keep a dedicated user base. I like the game but I have been playing less and less since it feels for the most part I accomplished most of what I could do at this point. They need to add something major like generation two in the next couple of months to ensure this while also working on trading and battling.
At the really least this showed the power of a "Nintendo" app better than Miitomo which no one was willing to play for the most part a month in.
A lot will come back when the buddy system update goes live.
So far it's still not live here in Europe. Still waiting for the New update.
Also here in Norway it's still highly popular, especially among kids.
Last sunday downtown Oslo in the big park on a sunny day, there were litterally hundreds of kids everywhere running around with a mobile phone. Just like 2 months ago.
So at least here, the popularity hasn't faded yet.
Not at all surprising. Mobile phone games generally lack the depth and complexity needed to be any more than passing fads that provide their players with a week or two of occasional amusement before they move on to something else.
@shaneoh Quite. Nintendo has recreated an event phenomenon similar to the very one that grabbed the first pokémon fans, only this time everyone has access to it.
not surprising since so many places being removed from system, ban's, companies and other places telling people they can't use it or are not allowed to, rooted not working for it, even a country banned it, not to mention the fact of mugging's and injuries.
^Plus the fact that mobile games tend to drop off pretty quick. The fact that it lasted this long (and it's still profitable!) is nothing to sneeze at.
Well yes, this is a natural phenomenon of what happens when something is released with enough mass exposure. There is an initial spike of users which then just as quickly dies down, but provided they provide a good service, the numbers can then keep steadily rising again, this time with more loyal user base.
(If anyone knows how this phenomenon is called, please remind me )
So only about 21 billion players left then....
Can we be clear on the difference between the PAYING population and the PLAYING population.
I've spent money on the app but not recently (I'm sure I will again) and I still play every day...
@MarcelRguez You can't seriously believe that a 79% drop in paying users is from bans. Besides the fact that players who actually pay are the absolute least likely to be banned, the total number of players of any type that have been banned probably accounts for a very tiny fraction of the user base. As in, they probably don't make up more than a couple percentage points, if even that much.
@Fandabidozi It seems pretty clear to me. The distinction is even made in the headline.
@-DEMISE- That was not my point. I can see how you'd understand that, but it's just bad wording from my part.
Well the game was patched to death for me.
If i could go out and hunt down specific pokemons i would do it.
But the way it is working now is just not fun anymore.
So would I count as one of the 79%?
I'm still playing every day and have no doubt I'll spend more money on the app.
Guys you are missing one key stat, Pokemon GO accounts for about 1/3 of in-app revenues of ALL mobile games. In-app purchases are estimated to be a 23 Billion dollar market in 2016. This is nothing to sneeze at.
If they (as in Nintendo/Pokemon Co) are smart, it would be wise to make Niantic implement Gen 7 pokemon and have them launch alongside Sun/Moon.
Also, I have no sympathy for cheaters in MMOs, which this very much is.
And as the article states, they talk about paying consumers, not the ones that still play but don't pay.
If you live in a big city With tons of Pokestops around you, you basically don't have to spend a single dime on the game, as you can easily replenish your Pokeballs via all these pokestops.
It's different for People living in areas with few Pokestops, who are more likely to run out of pokeballs.
I live in a big city and so far only spend Money on expanding my Storage and buy an incubator or two. That's it.
I haven't had any need to buy Pokeballs, since I pass enough Pokestops on my way to work and back home every day to replenish my Stock.
There has been a load of issues causing it to lose popularity, but a lot of the people I know who have stopped playing are still interested in it... they're just waiting for the issues to be fixed.
Spoofers have become a bit of a problem in my area, as you can frequently see gyms being attacked even when there is clearly no-one in range of them... but Niantic are cracking down on that, which I'm glad to see.
We've also had the biggest nest in town ruined in the last shuffle, with the Machop (and previously Ponyta) having been replaced with Tentacool, which are rather common in the area... but hopefully nests will continue shuffling every so often (although this will likely cause the number of players to fluctuate).
A lot of people do complain about getting nothing but common Pokemon all the time, but I think they're just not paying attention... in the past hour I've seen a decent number of rarer Pokemon, including a Scyther, an Omanyte, and a Weezing. The main problem seems to be the buggy battery saver, which basically forces you to keep your phone out the entire time, but I'm hoping that will have been sorted in the latest (Pokemon GO Plus) update... which I'm still waiting for.
Once these problems are dealt with, then Pokemon GO will probably pick up again for a while, but we will still see a gradual drop off over time.
Novelty wears off, but primarily: School starts and summer ends.
Even here in tiny Viborg, hordes of people would sit around in the one park with three pokéstops within reach, as a cozy outing for the evening.
Now it ain't so hot anymore, and there's homework to be done.
This was the perfect summer hit.
Some of people in the world are not a gamer at all. Maybe they just only curious, download it for trial, play for a while, feel bored or confused to continue the game and then neglect the game.
Some of them are too lazy to continue the progress.
Some of them are too busy with their job or activities so almost no time for playing and then feel that game they had downloaded just only wasting the space of their smartphone. Well, that's the reality of some people behaviour today.
@Fandabidozi I think it means that, of the players that have paid money at any point, 79% of them have gone inactive. Not just stopped paying while still playing, but stopped playing altogether. But to be honest that's just my read on this, and I could be totally wrong. I read the original article linked in this one, and even after looking at the graphs in that story, I can't 100% tell what they mean.
@MarcelRguez I see. Well I'm an open-minded person, so feel free to elaborate on your actual meaning, if you want to set the record straight.
@-DEMISE- Just that Niantic's attitude isn't helping them to preserve a large userbase. With "huge chunk" I meant a large amount of people, not a large percentage of users.
@SLIGEACH_EIRE Yeah, and school vacations ended, so people don't really have the opportunity to spend all day wandering around looking for pokémon anymore... :3
Whoa. If that's the case that's a massive drop off. Though of course thery're still raking it in. 🤑
Pokemon go out,
School and work in!
It's a free app, users (paying or not) will constantly fluctuate, especially when there could be meaningful updates rolling out.
Also: the school has started (at least here, on September).
@DragonEleven When did the nests shuffle? Any particular date on that?
Niantic keep messing the game up so it's not surprising. Most people I know have got fed up with it, with features being removed, with no word on tracking.
the sooner it dies, the better...
@MarcelRguez they ban cheater's nothing wrong with that.except for the cheaters cause they think its wrong to be banned for cheating
This is why I'm unafraid of Nintendo becoming a mobile focused company. Despite their focus on innovation, they are pretty conservative in terms of their business model. Zynga, King Games, etc. are pretty good examples of why mobile should be a complimentary (rather than exclusive) focus.
I haven't payed and I'm not going to play.
Now it's Pokemon Went.
$ 500 million ain't half bad, though
@KTT They've changed twice since the game was released, although not all nests changed each time... I think the first was at the end of July, and the second was a few weeks ago.
It's not entirely clear why they changed at these times... I think they may have been accompanied by updates to the game itself, which would mean another shuffle could come this week, or it could just be every 4 weeks or so, which would mean that another would be due next week.
Well of course it has. When you add features that nobody wanted, and don't fix what everyone is complaining about, people are going to quit playing. I quit playing particularly for that reason. The tracking sucked on it to where finding pokemon is impossible. Then they ban people for using other tracking software because their jealous they can't make one as good. It's going to remain this way until they release the 2nd gen. But if the main bugs and issues aren't fixed and more unwanted features are added in, then I doubt people are going to get back into it.
@DragonEleven I know there was one change but didn't noticed the second. I have a Bulbasaur nest nearby and I'm afraid it may be lost, but it was okay 2 weeks ago.
I supposed they will be rotating the nests to make some unavailable monsters available. I guess it's once per month, but that's just a guess. Thanks for the info.
Im one of the paying I stopped cause I run out of pokeballs way to fast even farming them at two to three stops at once because I catch everything for star dust and cause 95 percent of the time I'm running into pidgey and rattata and no local battling and way to little customization especially hairstyle and no leaderboards I've spent 120 and i definitely won't be spending more until i see them add what i listed lol
Hear that, Baby Boomers? We're all going back to our stationary, sitting-and-staring-at-a-PC-screen-forever lives now. You can stop complaining about us getting exercise.
Predictably, lots of "here's proof Nintendo games should be console-only and the mobile market is a fad" comments.
Come out, come out, wherever you are
There are many reasons people quit. But I think the biggest reason is that the game stopped being fun and became a chore.
The turning point was that one update where they increased difficulty to such a degree that even catching a common Pidgey became a 10 Pokeball task. People would deplete inventory so quick that they'd have to start skipping certain Pokemon in fear of wasting balls, and eventually they skipped the game.
I still play, but I've found once your level is in the 20s and you can take a gym fairly whenever, the amount of playtime goes from everyday to more occasional.
That said, I still bet they at least get 30% back when the add in trading.
@thedillon23 There really is no reason for you to have a shortage of Pokeballs... I catch everything I can as well and only ran out a couple of times when I went places that had virtually no PokeStops whatsoever... most of the time I actually have to discard excess Pokeballs in order to make room for better ones... currently I have around 50 Pokeballs, 100 Great balls, and 90 Ultra balls.
I do spend a bit of money on the game, but not a lot and only about once a month or so... and most of what I've spent has gone towards storage expansion and incubators.
It's inevitable. I still leave the app on when I go out but I know that once Mario comes out, that will occupy most of my mobile game time. I don't even play mobile games so it's still a big thing that I'm even playing this still.
But I never play console games for more than a few months, until I beat them. This is the same, it's just more about luck than actual skill that determines how long before I beat it. I've enjoyed the amount of publicity and conversation this game has generated though. For once I was playing a popular Nintendo series at the same time as countless people around me, when 99% of the time it's just me while everyone talks about Grand Theft Auto or Call of Duty or FIFA and I switch off.
Plus I stopped playing Pokémon 15 years ago because I grew out of it. This week I finally beat Red, and I'll try out Sun/Moon when they arrive. It's resurrected the series for many people and it's finally no longer frowned upon again to admit you play Pokémon at my age.
Yea but 21% of a few bajillion zillion million is still like a bajillion zillion.
@DragonEleven that's insane you need to share the wealth lo idk if you go to areas where people put up modules alot at least for me I can go through like 80 in a hour and a half
the other 79%
Go Team Instinct!!!
And the world still spins round, it's inevitable but the most important thing is how well it'll influence Sun/Moon sales.
...Well if they would fix some of the issues in this game...
With this it will be helpful to know about the number of people who were/are paying as well. 79% of 10,000 or 79% of 1,000,000 can paint different stories.
Edit: I read some of the direct article, I got a better understanding of the numbers now.
Granted I payed $10 (July 24) before just to expand my bag, I don't need to pay more $ for anything else which can be good or bad depending how you look at it.
@thedillon23 When I go to lured stops I tend to include them in a larger loop, going past frequently enough to get all of the Pokemon that appear, while also going past enough other PokeStops to replenish my supplies... generally means that I receive around the same number of balls as I use.
What probably helps in particular is that I tend to include at least 10 PokeStops in the loop, so I typically hit one 'SuperStop' each time I go round, which give extra items.
A quick calculation puts it nowhere near the earnings of big AAA console franchises.
At half a billion in sales, it has made less than half the money of just a single Call of Duty entry.
Glad I never got the app.
Ha it'll be dead by the time Pokemon Sun and Moon launch.
@Rafx THIS ^ Even losing 79% of paying players this game is making a sh*t ton of money, and is still a huge success. Go plus isn't even out yet.
Still playing it and loving it. Should be interesting if there's an uptick now that school is back on in the US. Or maybe it goes down because kids are busy at school?
@Pod And CoD is some form of hellish juggernaut that is the most profitable piece of entertainment ever and has no sign of slowing down.
Not the greatest comparison, all in all.
I love how this comment section has exactly 79 comments.
Wait. Gosh darn I ruined it.
I expected as much.
Mobile gaming popularity is like a flash in the pan. Brilliant, but gone just like that.
I tried the game a few times. Couldn't really get into it. I'd rather just play a normal Pokemon game.
I finally quit because, Niantic is a terrible developer who doesn't really care about the fans.
Pokemon GO is already a financial success even if the paying population were to drop to 0%, but the sharp drop in paying users is unsurprising, as casuals all drop the game and only Pokemon fans remain.
It's quite evident they have little to no idea about why people like Pokemon and are basing development decisions around making it like basic freemium games.
It's cause their game isn't much of a game, really.
Towards some who don't understand these numbers:
This is a drop in the number of paying customers, not playing customers. This means all of those people that don't pay regularly for anything could still be playing daily, hourly or never turning it off. More likely half of them have stopped playing as well, but these reactions are just showing desire or bias in those making comments not reflecting any sort of facts.
So, if you bought a console game and you aren't continually sending money in for that game you are also not a paying customer anymore but you may be playing for months and months afterwards and returning to it after years, but you'd never return to the paying customer category.
You'd have to compare this to games on dedicated game machines with in-game purchases or subscriptions.
and all the arrogant Nintendo "fans", that cannot stand that people out of their circle can have fun, will call the app a failure and shouting "I knew it! stupid kaazualz"
All app games have a huge peak of adoption and then goes down. That's normal. Candy crush doesn't have the same adoption when started and it's still succesful.
I don't know why this is such huge news.
I'm part of that 79%. XD That battery issue though killing my phone so fast... "Oh bring a portable charger with you." I shouldn't have to do that! XD
Next up is Super Mario Runner. That may break even bigger records than Pokemon Go did. We'll see.
I'm still scratching my head in bewilderment that anyone ever paid a penny to play this in the first place lol
I want to play Pokemon Go but stopped since they took away tracking. I was tired of losing Porygons, Snorlaxes, Charizards, and other rare Pokemon that were "close" to me only to disappear after hunting them for hours in a 3 km radius in every direction. If Niantic fixed this, I would of kept playing.
@Pod AAA games need that kind of sales to only break even with the development costs. A game like Pokemon GO doesn't have those kind of development costs.
@Jaguar11891 The radius for the nearby is 200 meters.
This game kinda sucks, they don't even give you the basics of battling with other people you meet to level your Pokemon or trading. Plus it kills my phone battery even with the saver.
So it seems that this just got a lot of people to open their wallets to Pokemon and have moved from spending it on something that Nintendo will get a small amount form to other Pokemon stuff that Nintendo might do better from.
no surprise, especially now that its september and kids are going to school and stuff so that makes thing worse, on the bright side this would definitely bring an effect to increase sun/moon sales so its all good
well, When you "fix" things by removing them and don't really maintain the game that well, these things tend to happen.
It's been weeks since I've hatched an egg now since I can no longer ride a bike it seems (and those people who say it still works, I call BS) and I've kind of stopped caring about the game myself. So glad I didn't spend any money on this.
So far I have not spent any money, mostly because I'm a stubborn person who refuses to spend money on mobile games. However, I do plan to spend some on this game in the future. In general, it deserves it, contrary to everyone's complaints...this new kind of mobile gaming has impressed me (Ingress came before yes, but this took its tech and ran with it) I am able to utilize the sightings function to find Pokemon quite easily with a bit of knowledge of spawn points in the area and some math. While I would certainly love the beta Nearby feature to come to all, I am content with what we currently have.
I only have two general frustrations with this game:
1) They need to make something for rural players to improve their experience, preferrably soon. Create a new mechanic that granting access to rarer Pokemon (like a nest, but spawning a variety of Pokemon in Pokestop-sparse areas...name it a sanctuary or something). Also, they could either create more Pokestops in areas sorely lacking them, or make some sort of daily bonus offering more/better goodies for fewer Pokestops used in the last 24 hrs. It is not hard to integrate some sort of features to balance out rural vs city gameplay a bit. I feel like the buddy system actually was intended partially to help with this, but sadly it cannot help much if a player is unable to get decent Pokemon in the first place.
2) The Gym system...expecting something elaborate is unlikely for a game like this, but what they have needs work. I will give them credit in that they did say that they are working to improve it. But they have some work to do, particularly with dodging and ensuring that warning cues for secondary attacks display well ahead of the attacks...because more often than not, they don't. I would also throw Pokemon (type) balance into the mix a bit, although I am less concerned about that with the exception of the cheesy terror known as Eevee. If I work really hard for a 3rd stage Pokemon not named Beedrill/Butterfree/Pidgeot, I expect it to be able to beat an equally-leveled Eeveelution when using neutral moves.
If they improve these, or at least make an honest effort to begin improving these, I will gladly open my wallet to this game as incentive for them to keep at it.
Will rise again when new Pokemon arrive.
Come out and play-ay!
Oh, of course. So would I, it'd be interesting to see the reach. I'm interested in just how many people have played something like Mario Kart Wii (or 8) as well, as it has got to be a much higher number than the actual sales.
You are of course right. CoD breaks even after the first five million sales, however, after that all the profits help cover the many less successful productions Activision have been running. So every entry helps pay for ten other smaller productions, and patch gaps of underperforming franchises.
It's not that unstoppable, though, the last four entries have sold consecutively less. And lots of other franchises have at times competed in terms of sales and earnings. Nintendo had several games on the Wii that either sold more, earned more, or both, than contemporary Call of Duty entries.
You are right that the comparison to Pokémon Go isn't fair as such, but before people paint mobile games as something Nintendo can't do without, because they make a lot of money, it's worth taking note of just how much money traditional games both can and do make.
Quote "before people paint mobile games as something Nintendo can't do without, because they make a lot of money, it's worth taking note of just how much money traditional games both can and do make".
After ONLY ONE GAME on phones it is a bit early to draw a detailed conclusion one way or the other but ..
I am one of those people that will boldly say that (AS THINGS STAND) mobile gaming is something Nintendo CANNOT do without.
As a business Nintendo needs it's hands in many pies to maximize profits. As a company that recorded it's first ever losses this generation as well as a company with one of the poorest selling mainstream consoles in history. How the NX will preform is a mystery. It might be that after the NX Nintendo may be force to focus more on mobile gaming. Time will tell.
BTW I am NOT saying your comment is silly, it is not. I just don't agree with it right now.
I am not one of those people that despise mobile games and take it as if Nintendo is falling from grace or anything like that. I don't take issue with them exploring the area.
I just feel there has been a bit of a tendency for people to use the success of Go to claim that Nintendo should or will go fully mobile in order to save themselves. While they continuously state that making mobile games for them is predominantly about convincing people that their IP is great, and even greater on native hardware.
I think the mobile market will work wonders for brand awareness for Nintendo. It will be advertisement that pays for itself.
Considering they have not finished global roll out and people are frothing at the mouth for the plus accessory as well as the smart watch integration, I'm not really worried by this. Mobile users wax and wane all the time. Not the end of the money train for all involved at all.
@AlexSora89 Implying Mobile gaming isn't fickle and a fad. Mobile gaming = casual gaming, it'd be a miracle if people actually played a game in the long term when it comes to mobile.
Mobile gaming will never overshadow console gaming. In the meantime, though, it can't be underestimated, either.
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