The initial fascination may have worn off for many, but Pokémon GO has inspired a massive boost in merchandise and game sales. The world’s obsession with Pokémon GO was clearly never going to last, but the incredible thing about its success is that although the paying population of the game is now down by 79% from its mid-July peak it’s still easily the most profitable mobile app in the US.
According to analysts at Slice Intelligence, at its peak Pokémon GO inspired twice as many people as normal to spend money on mobile games, but that’s now returned to normal. But Pokémon GO still accounts for 28% of all money spent on mobile games in America, bringing in six times more than nearest rival Candy Crush Saga.
The big question now is whether Pokémon GO will continue to decline and end up as just as flash in the pan or whether, like Candy Crush Saga, it remains highly popular but just at a lower level than before. The obvious problem for Pokémon GO is that there’s not really much gameplay to keep you coming back, and as winter approaches wandering around the countryside is going to lose some of its appeal somewhat.
But there’s a huge range of new features that could be added to the app, and just this week has seen the introduction of the buddy feature that lets you walk around and team-up with a particular pokémon. There’s also the delayed release of the Pokémon GO Plus Bluetooth device and the recent announcement of the Apple Watch app.
Presumably it also won’t be long till more new pokémon are added. But Slice Intelligence notes that whatever else happens the app’s success has had a huge effect on Pokémon merchandise in general, with revenues for toys and games up 233% in August. After Pokémon GO’s success, older 3DS Pokémon games have reappeared in the charts in the US, Japan, and Europe. And so the other question is how Pokémon Sun and Moon are going to fare when they’re released on November 23.
With the 3DS at the end of its lifespan and now boasting 60 million devices worldwide – more than either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One – they could be on track to become the most successful Pokémon games ever. Except for Pokémon GO itself of course.