Every now and then, what seems to be spontaneous technological advance that almost no one is prepared for, promptly halts our seemingly lightning-speed society instantly. Pokémon Go resembles this standstill perhaps better than any other gaming production over the past decade, at least for iPhone users. The arrival of Pokémon Go, an augmented reality game, brought together gamers from across the entire globe essentially overnight. Even if you didn’t download the game, chances are you saw players walking around diligently monitoring their screens (at least more than normal) in hopes ‘to catch ’em all’. Using a player’s smartphone camera and GPS signal, the game creates wild Pokémon and gathers them up on the streets of the real world. When hustling around and investigating, players– or ‘trainers’ as they are called in the game– are tipped off with rustling bits of grass, which signal a Pokémon’s attendance. Walking closer will prompt them to appear, and tapping on them will initiate a battle (of sorts) between trainers’ attempts at capture and creatures’ attempt at fleeing.
It’s not just another mobile game and it’s not another Pokémon game– it’s an entirely separate beast on the cusp of something vast; a glimpse into the future of widely accessible augmented reality. What does it matter now if the nuances of gameplay are clunky when there’s the possibility of catching a ‘Gastly’ in a previously unfamiliar local park behind a sculpture you never knew the name of before? Pokémon Go has offered a blast into the future for gamers alike, and offers no surprise when it comes to enthralling statistics behind this powerhouse mobile app. Let’s take a look at some of the flooring numbers following this interactive mobile game.
Among an audience of users spread worldwide, the diversity between gamers truly runs the gamut. Male or female, old or young, upper-class or not, Pokémon correctly nailed a piece that all demographics could relate to; that little kid cloaked inside of them ready to hunt for the next hidden treasure.
Interestingly enough, Pokémon Go does not ask users to disclose their gender, however, females have shown a significant interest in the game, estimated that half or more of the users are female. And a whopping 25% of their gamers fall into the 30-50 year-old category, which displays the wide range of gamers who couldn’t get enough of Pokémon during its first wave of popularity, and they came back for more. Rich or not, old or young, one thing is certain, you can catch our Pokémon, but you can never take our freedom!
14. United States Popularity
After its release on July 6th, Pokémon Go’s highest peak users was a whopping 25 million gamers. To put that into context, as you’re reading this, the United States has 234 million people; that means an astounding 7% of the United States population was playing Pokémon Go at a given period.
After the initial frenzy that had users spinning around and walking to undisclosed destinations with absolutely zero awareness of their surroundings, downloads haven’t faired with the same popularity. As these popular trends typically do, they are all the rage for about a week, and then dissipate into pop-culture limbo to sit for eternity, right next to Guitar Hero and Dance Dance Revolution. However, Pokémon Go was such an incredible frenzy of popularity that after the first week of its unveiling, it has become the most popular mobile game ever in the United States!
13. Global Popularity
Pokémon Go didn’t just take the United States by storm; upon arrival, it was accessible in 14 countries and has since grown to 37 countries and is still expanding. Some of those countries include: Spain, United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, Brazil, and Canada to name a few. Oddly enough China, South Korea, and Russia are some of the more popular and populated countries that haven’t joined the Pokémon Go craze. This doesn’t mean that these countries aren’t set to enjoy the game in the near future; most of these countries have set release dates on the horizon.
When it comes to global enthusiasm, Australia has taken the lead in terms of popularity. A record 20% of all phones in Australia have activated and downloaded the Pokémon Go reality game, especially shocking when you consider that Snapchat and Twitter have an install rate of roughly 25%. After Australia, you might suspect that the US would come second in terms of Pokémon Go’s reach, as the app has been available in the US for a longer period of time. That, however, isn’t the case, and several European countries including Germany, Portugal, and Austria have already surpassed the US in percent of Pokémon Go Android installs.
12. Wall Street Whirlwind
Hopefully a fair number of Nintendo (Pokémon Go producer) owners on Wall Street have strong stomachs, because they have been taken for quite a roller-coaster ride these past few months. The assessment of Nintendo’s shares essentially doubled behind the launch of Pokémon Go in the U.S. on July 6. The game’s enormous popularity confronted stock analysts and financial journalists who frankly weren’t prepared, and at its peak in early July, the price of an individual share hit $38.25. That added $17.6 billion to the total value of Nintendo’s shares on the financial markets. After being rewarded with such opening success, the company saw a reported loss of stock value of 10% on July 18th, and then a record 18% on July 25th. The sharp decline lost $6.7 million in market value, making it the single largest decline in Nintendo history since 1990.
11. Average User Time
Pokémon Go has exceeded the next milestone in terms of taking over every aspect of your life. On average, users are spending more time playing the game than in apps such as Snapchat, Twitter, and even Facebook. The data, putting Pokémon Go at just over 33 minutes of average daily use on July 11th, comes from mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. In contrast, Facebook’s app piled up an average 22 minutes of use, Snapchat pulled 18 minutes, and Twitter 17 minutes. The results are staggering, in a society dependent on up-to-the-minute news feeds and constant notification checks, to have an app essentially double the user spending time is absolutely ridiculous! Priority for Pokémon apparently supersedes that of ‘love’, as Pokémon Go has out-downloaded the Tinder App, at roughly 22 million downloads. SurveyMonkey even has data that suggests that Pokémon Go daily users will eventually pass GoogleMaps!
10. Death By Pokémon
Unless you’ve been hiding in your house (don’t blame you if you have), chances are you’ve seen firsthand, or heard about, Pokémon Go users glued to their screens, and doing downright bonehead things putting themselves or others in harm’s way. If you haven’t lost faith in humanity yet, newspaper headlines titled “Pokémon Go player wraps his car around a tree”, as well as “Two men fall down 90ft cliff chasing Pokémon”, are sure to bury the nail in the coffin for doomsday enthusiasts.
In all seriousness, thank God there haven’t been any related deaths linked to the augmented reality game. However, it has gotten very close and the game has been associated with many serious injuries, including a 15-year-old girl who was hit by a car and hospitalized. Texting and driving is already at the forefront of our society’s constant need to stay up-to-date, recently hundreds of accounts either personal, or legal, have been identified as playing the Pokémon game while driving, which is downright irresponsible and players are putting others in danger, not just themselves.
9. Bad Boys, Bad Boys… (And Girls)
Physical injury isn’t the only issue that Pokémon Go users are running into. Legal troubles pose just as significant a threat as physical injury; Pokémon Go players have been involved in numerous trespassing-related incidents. From property damage to armed robbery, this augmented reality video game has apparently altered reality for many users led to believe that basic laws simply do not apply to them. Having said that, the vast majority of legal confrontations have been ‘innocent’ gamers simply oblivious of their surroundings, until they stumbled far beyond that ‘No Trespassing’ sign. The bottom line is this, whether unintentional or not, the notion that everything we do is through a screen has not only detached us from reality, but now put those actively and innocently living their lives in harm’s way.
8. Show Me The Money!
Pokémon Go may be available for free to those who wish to play it, but that doesn’t mean that the game’s developers aren’t making any money. According to the Venture Beat, Pokémon Go generated approximately $35 million in its first two weeks of activity. As of early September, the app has generated a total $233 million. There’s about $1.6 million each day from iPhone users alone.
Now you’re asking yourself, how could a game that is free to the public make any money? While the game is free, there are several options and opportunities to spend real cash on items such as ‘Pokéballs’ and ‘potions’. These items are available to acquire for free throughout the course of the game, but the last thing you want is to run out of Pokéballs while trying to catch a pesky Ratata (yeah right), so game users can instantly purchase more of whatever they’ve run out of and continue playing carefree. Indeed, a significant number of players who download the app actually end up paying for the items rather than wasting energy collecting them for free. The ratio of users devoting cash to the game to the total number of users is about 10 times that of Candy Crush.
7. The Marching Banned
Not everyone took too kindly to the arrival of Pokémon Go, Saudi Arabia leading the charge of countries that forbid the play of Pokémon entirely. Claiming that the Pokémon game permeates ideas of ‘Polytheism’, encourages gambling, and directly goes against ‘Fatwa’ (Islamic Law). Egypt also stated that the game promoted ‘un-Islamic’ ideals and made the punishment of playing the game, the same as if you were caught drinking underage. Egypt’s stance came from a moral basis, stating that the game “negatively influences the mind”.
Russian authorities have also weighed in on the game, stating that it resembles western intelligence agencies, and even the devil itself. Franz Klintsevich (a senior Russian security official) had this to say about the game, “There’s the feeling that the devil has arrived through this mechanism, and he’s simply trying to ruin us from within”.
6. Location, Location, Location
Pokémon Go’s unprecedented traffic from users hasn’t just benefited itself; its helped mom-and-pop stores across the country appreciate a spike in revenue as well. Due to the ‘hunting’ nature of the game, players will roam around town for Pokémon and other treasures, causing a bottleneck system of users to gather in one location at once. ‘Lures’ for Pokémon create desired destinations for ‘trainers’ to seek out and, ultimately, swarm to. It didn’t take businesses a long time to capitalize on this model, and some even buy products from the Pokémon Go app, to lure more treasures and desired items to their stores, thus attracting more customers to their business. Food trucks and restaurants have actually reaped the largest benefits. In one case, a manager of several taco trucks sent his employees out to a local hotspot where many players were gathered over the weekend. They reported a 7,000% spike in business, reporting roughly 200 customers per hour!
5. Gotta Tweet ‘Em All…
It’s no secret that our culture has become dependent on letting others know what our current endeavors are. Whether we post a photo or a brainstormed methodical hashtag, chances are that much of our private life doesn’t stay so private for very long. Alongside Twitter, here are some of the most trendy and popular hashtags related to Pokémon Go, and their astounding numbers that correlate.
All Pokémon Go Tweets combined: 15,714,731
#pokemongo : 5,642,317
1,219,640— Number of Facebook ‘Likes’ on Pokémon Facebook Page
Of all the Tweets shown, 61% come from males while 39% come from female accounts via Twitter. These Tweets, however, are confined to English-speaking Americans; a number of record-breaking Tweets from across the globe can be found as well.
4. Do You Even Workout, Bro?
Pokémon Go (keyword: Go) has taken gamers where they have never been before… outside; getting more and more users out of their homes and into the real world. The founders of Cardiogram (the application tracking heart rate and movement for the Apple Watch) couldn’t believe the peak in exercise/movement from their data post Pokémon Go release. The first day of the launch, on average, 45% of gamers were active for more than 30 minutes, two days later, it rose to 50%, and then 53%. As a matter of fact, gamers lose anywhere from 250-300 calories per catch, meaning every time they complete a milestone in the game, they are also achieving a certain amount of exercise as well. It’s estimated that playing everyday for a week will burn 1,500 calories for men, and 1,800 calories for women. There has always been an idea that fitness and gaming could be coupled into one game, tried by several applications and games in the past, it seems that Pokémon Go may have raised the bar in terms of accomplishing both.
3. Depression And Anxiety
This is an enormous deal for a lot of people. In a culture where we generally stay indoors most of the time, those with depression and anxiety are at an even larger risk of staying inside, thus remaining depressed or anxious. As mentioned earlier, Pokémon Go has provided a means and destinations for users to go outside and interact with the outdoors, engaging with other players and ultimately just having fun. Depression can lead directly to other illnesses and actually increases the risk of getting sick. For example, people with depression are 4 times more likely to have a heart attack.
Depression is the cause of over two-thirds of the 30,000 reported suicides every year, and untreated depression is the number one cause for suicide among youth, and is among the 3 leading causes of death for people aged 15-24. It is an epidemic in youths all over the world and while Pokémon Go doesn’t directly treat depression, thousands have come forward and admitted that it has helped them tremendously through their daily fight with depression.
2. Pokémon Go Plus
Pokémon Go Plus is an individual peripheral device that lets you play without having to look at your phone’s screen the entire time. There are a ton of things we still don’t understand about how the peripheral will work, but here’s what we know so far…
Pokémon Go Plus is a $34.99 additional device that interacts with the application on your iPhone or Android. The Plus is designed to look like a ‘Pokéball’ varied with a Google Maps pin, which expresses the game’s arrangement of Pokémon and actual world travel. It uses Bluetooth to sync to your smart device, and you can clip it to your shirt or wear it like a bracelet to stay connected to your game at all times. The Plus notifies you when you’re near a ‘PokéStop’ and pulsates when you’ve approached it in the real world.
1. Hidden Revenue And Future Projections
Right now, Pokémon Go money is immense. Estimations put its earnings at nearly $3 million a day. That’s colossal, and if it keeps up, it’ll mean a total revenue of $1.1 billion per year. Although, it still doesn’t justify a $9 billion stock price for a small chunk of its ownership. The game is free, so the money comes from in-app purchases. Anywhere from $0.99 to $99.99 can be used to purchase in-game coins, however there is a much larger revenue component that can skyrocket profits for Pokémon, estimating its profits to be $180 billion over the next 10 years.
Pokémon Go would generate revenue through marketing in the form of charging retail businesses for the right to become sponsored locations. Pokémon Go is going to drive real life human traffic straight to businesses. A $17.92 billion per year estimate from Pokémon Go sponsor earnings may seem fanciful, but small businesses are already aware of the potential revenue increase that pulling a massive amount of gamers to their stores can produce. The numbers are just a projection, but they do not seem far off— imagine an app like Pokémon Go, having the capability to send hundreds or thousands of users to a specific location, incredible (and scary).