Pokémon Mobile Games Have Earned $2.5 Billion Total, Mostly From Pokémon GO

Mobile gamers on iOS and Android have spent approximately $2.5 billion on Pokémon games, according to new data shared this week by Sensor Tower.

There are six mobile titles that Sensor Tower is counting towards the total, but the bulk of the money - 98 percent - was earned by the most popular Pokémon title, Pokémon GO.


The other five titles that have brought in more modest amounts of revenue include Pokémon Shuffle Mobile, Pokémon Duel, Pokémon Quest, Pokémon: Magikarp Jump, and Pokémon TCG Online.

The United States has spend the most on Pokémon games, with total U.S. revenue coming in at 875 million, or 35 percent of the $2.5 billion number. Japan comes in second and accounts for 29 percent or $725 million of the total Pokémon game revenue.

Pokémon games have been installed by 640 million mobile users around the world since 2014, with Pokémon GO unsurprisingly making up the bulk of that with 550 million total worldwide downloads.


This article, "Pokémon Mobile Games Have Earned $2.5 Billion Total, Mostly From Pokémon GO" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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Pokémon Go Seeing ‘Resurgence’ With Most Daily Spending Since Launch, Due to Trading Update

It's now been two years since Pokémon Go launched on iOS, becoming immensely popular with players across iOS and Android in the months that followed its debut. Although the number of players in the game has lessened since then, Pokémon Go has remained consistently popular among its fans, and this week Sensor Tower reports that it's seen a "resurgence" this summer thanks to the long-awaited Pokémon trading update.


That update came this past June, allowing players to trade Pokémon with nearby friends -- a feature that took the company two years to implement because it "wanted to make sure" the mechanic was done right, according to Niantic software engineer Kiersten Koa.

Now, Sensor Tower says that Pokémon Go players have spent an average of $2.5 million per day in the game since the June 19 update. In the 60 days leading to the update, players worldwide were spending about $1.8 million per day in the app. This means that the trading update has increased Pokémon Go's daily revenue by $700,000 per day, representing a 39 percent increase.

Sensor Tower points out that this daily spending "hasn't been seen since its summer 2016 launch."
Niantic’s Pokémon GO has never stopped being popular, but it’s definitely had its share of peaks and valleys when it comes to player spending. Right now, it’s in the midst of a resurgence the likes of which hasn’t been seen since its summer 2016 launch, and the game’s most fevered spending has come in the wake of June’s big friends and trading update.
Next, Sensor Tower says it's looking to see how the change of seasons will affect the game, since its revenue tends to peak during the summer months as more players venture outside to play the game. Still, another major update is scheduled to arrive before the end of 2018, enabling a player-versus-player mode, which should again "propel player spending back to the levels seen at the game's launch."

Although not part of Nintendo's mobile gaming initiative with developer partners like DeNA and Cygames, Nintendo does have a stake in Pokémon Go's success since it owns part of The Pokémon Company. The next main Nintendo game to see a smartphone launch will be Dragalia Lost, which was just announced to have a debut on September 27.


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Pokémon Go Gaining Ability to Trade Pokémon With Nearby Friends This Week

Two years after its release in the summer of 2016, Pokémon Go will officially add Pokémon trading between friends within the app later this week. The feature is coming via a new "Friends" area, allowing players to connect to real-life friends and trade Pokémon, keep track of their status in the game, and send them items and gifts.

Friends will now get "Trainer Codes" to share with one another, which can be entered to become friends in the app. Once you're friends with someone there are multiple actions you can perform to increase your Friendship Level, like sending them gifts or participating in raids and gym battles with them. As this level grows, bonuses can be unlocked when you play together, so "Great Friends" can gain in-battle advantages, like attack bonuses.


Friendship Levels can be increased once per day per friend, and the new friend-based mechanics lead into the game's trading system. If you are near your friend (within 100 meters) and have reached a Trainer Level of 10 or higher, the game will let you trade Pokémon that you've caught. Trades cost Stardust, and Niantic says that once your Friendship Level increases players will be able to complete trades "with much less Stardust."

Special Pokémon like a legendary, shiny, or any Pokémon not in your Pokédex will have their own "Special Trade" rules: they can only occur once per day with a Great Friend or Best Friend, and cost "a lot of Stardust." Every trade also earns players bonus candy for the Pokémon that has been traded away, and the amount of candy increases if the Pokémon being traded were captured in regions far apart from each other.

Pokémon trading was one of the missing features of Pokémon Go that players asked for after the game launched in July 2016. Months later in early 2017, Niantic CEO John Hanke said that trading would be coming "soon." Speaking with The Verge, Niantic software engineer Kirsten Koa explained that the nearby trading mechanic has been a focus of development since the game launched: "We wanted to make sure we got this right... It took two years for us to build that feature — that's how hard it was."


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Upcoming ‘Pokémon: Let’s Go’ Game for Nintendo Switch Will Offer Integration With Pokémon Go on iOS

The Pokémon Company today announced the upcoming launch of Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu!, two games designed for the Nintendo Switch.

The two new Pokémon: Let's Go games are designed to connect to Pokémon Go on the iPhone and other mobile devices and offer many of the gameplay functions that are available in Pokémon Go.


Players will be able to catch Pokémon using Pokémon Go on iOS or Android and then transfer those Pokémon over to the switch. Any of the original 151 Pokémon from the Kanto region can be transferred over to the Switch using Bluetooth.

As demonstrated in the video accompanying the announcement, a player captures a Dratini on a smartphone and then pulls out a Switch to transfer the Dratini to something called the "GO PARK" where the player is able to interact with the Pokémon.

The video also shows a Nintendo Switch user sending a present to a Pokémon Go player on an Android device, suggesting gifts will also be able to be exchanged cross device.

Pokémon Let's Go gameplay was inspired by Pokémon Yellow, where Pikachu followed the player throughout the game, and The Pokémon Company says the two games are designed for players "taking their first steps into the Pokémon video game world."
"With the launch of Pokémon GO in 2016 and the global sensation that ensued, millions of new players were introduced to the world of Pokémon," said Junichi Masuda, director at GAME FREAK inc. "For many people, Pokémon GO was their first experience with the Pokémon brand, so we have crafted these two new titles to be an accessible entry point to our core RPG series while giving our longtime fans a new way to play Pokémon."
Gameplay in Pokémon Let's Go, as with other Pokémon games, consists of capturing, leveling, and fighting Pokémon. Local multiplayer gameplay is supported, with two Pokémon catchers able to team up to catch Pokémon.

The Pokémon Company says that in addition to integration with Pokémon Go on Switch, "something special" will be coming to the world of Pokémon Go in the future "making the connection between both games even more appealing for trainers."

Pokémon Let's Go for the Switch will be accompanied by a new Poké Ball Plus accessory that can be used in lieu of a standard Nintendo Switch controller for capturing and interacting with Pokémon. The Poké Ball Plus is also compatible with Pokémon Go and can be used to catch Pokémon instead of the existing Pokémon Go Plus accessory.

The Poké Ball Plus offers motion controls and it lights up, vibrates, and plays sounds. Players who capture a Pokémon using the Poké Ball Plus will be able to feel it move around inside the ball.

Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! and Pokémon: Let's Go Pikachu! will be released on November 16, 2018. The Poké Ball Plus will be available for purchase at retailers on the same day.


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Pokémon GO Soon Won’t Support iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, and Some Older iPads

Niantic on Tuesday announced that Pokémon GO will require an iPhone or iPad capable of running iOS 11 or later at the end of February.


The company plans to release an update for Pokémon GO around February 28, 2018 that will end support for older iPhone and iPad models incapable of updating to iOS 11, including the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5c.

The complete list of affected devices, released between 2011 and 2013:
  • iPhone 5
  • iPhone 5c
  • iPad (4th generation)
  • iPad (3rd generation)
  • iPad mini (1st generation)
  • iPad 2
After that date, players may no longer be able to access their Pokémon GO accounts on affected devices, or use their PokéCoins or other items in their bags. They will need to switch to a supported device to continue playing the game.

More specifically, players who attempt to access Pokémon GO using any of the devices listed above will no longer be able to sign in and will see a message stating that they need to switch to a supported device, suggesting server-side changes.

Niantic said the change is a result of improvements to Pokémon GO that push the game beyond the capabilities of previous iOS versions, likely including a new AR+ mode based on Apple's ARKit for iPhone 6s and newer.

Related Roundup: iOS 11

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Pokémon Go for iOS Adding Advanced ‘AR+’ Capture Mechanics Thanks to Apple’s ARKit

Niantic and The Pokémon Company today announced that an update coming this week to Pokémon Go on iOS will bring support for Apple's ARKit, enhancing the augmented reality abilities of the popular mobile game. The company is calling this feature "AR+" and will be available to players running iOS 11 on the iPhone 6s and later devices.

Previously announced by Apple at WWDC, ARKit brings a few new advancements to Pokémon Go's augmented reality technology, including the ability for the app to fix Pokémon to a specific point in space. This scaling feature allows players to walk up close to a Pokémon and move around them freely, bringing the app "one step closer to truly realizing Pokémon the way they are supposed to be represented in the real world," according to Niantic.


Another advancement is in the awareness of Pokémon that players are trying to capture, meaning that the creatures might run away if they notice trainers are getting too close. But, if trainers can sneak up on the Pokémon an Expert Handler bonus can be earned upon capture. This mechanic is represented in an "awareness meter" next to each Pokémon and if it fills up the Pokémon will flee, although another opportunity for capture might come if the player taps nearby tall grass.

Both of these new features are combined for the Expert Handler bonus, which rewards players for moving close to a Pokémon in AR+ mode, and capturing it without it fleeing. The bonus will reward players with more XP and Stardust upon capture.

Regarding the ARKit update to Pokémon Go, the company said that "this is our first step toward making AR capabilities in Pokémon GO even more awesome, opening up the framework for greater AR experiences in the future."

During the WWDC reveal of ARKit in June, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi presented the Pokémon Go AR+ enhancements now rolling out and stated, "The Pokémon is so real, he's right there on the ground. As the ball bounces, it actually bounces right there in the real environment. It's AR like you've never seen it before."

Pokémon Go is available to download for free from the iOS App Store [Direct Link].


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Pokémon Go Developer Niantic’s Next Augmented Reality Smartphone Game Will Be Harry Potter Themed

Following the success of Pokémon Go, TechCrunch is reporting today that developer Niantic Labs' next augmented reality game will be themed around the world of Harry Potter. The smartphone app will be called "Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" and is set to launch in 2018.

Specific details about the app's gameplay have not yet been released, but it's said that "there will be significant influence" from Niantic's original game, Ingress, which also influenced Pokémon Go. The developer's previous two games task players with exploring the real world to perform in-game actions, defending locations, and collecting items. Still, it's unclear which aspects of the Harry Potter universe would be used to create an augmented reality experience.

Niantic Labs had tremendous success with Pokémon Go, which paired their expertise in building location-based augmented reality mobile experiences with a top-flight IP with a ravenous fan base. So, it stands to reason that we should expect a similar fan response to Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, an AR title set to launch in 2018, co-developed by Warner Bros. Interactive and its new sub brand Portkey Games.

The app is now official, bu the details are still scarce, with the launch timeframe of just sometime next year, but it sounds like there will be significant influence from the Niantic game Ingress, which allows players to roam the real world collecting power-ups, defending locations and exploring their environment.
Augmented reality is quickly becoming a popular feature on smartphones, particularly for Apple's products. This year, the company debuted ARKit in iOS 11, greatly expanding the reach and availability of AR apps on the iOS App Store. Company CEO Tim Cook is constantly referencing his excitement for the technology, and a report by Bloomberg earlier today reinvigorated rumors that Apple is now on a "very aggressive" timeline to debut AR glasses by 2020.


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Pokémon GO Creator’s Next Game Will Integrate Audio Cues into the AR Experience

Pokémon GO creators Niantic are looking at ways to incorporate audio into future AR game experiences, according to the company's chief technology officer.

Speaking on a panel discussing augmented reality at TechCrunch's Disrupt event, Niantic CTO Phil Keslin said that audio cues would mean players wouldn't have to awkwardly hold their phone up while interacting with games like GO.

"I can tell you from experience that people don't do this," he said, mimicking how people playing an AR game would hold their phones. "It's very unnatural. It makes them look like a total doofus if they're doing it for an extended period of time," he added.

"In Pokémon GO, the only time they really use it is to share their encounter with the Pokémon. To take that one picture, which is natural…. Everybody takes a picture, and then they're done. It's not walking around the world with the phone in front of their face," he said.
Considering alternative solutions, Keslin suggested audio could be integrated into AR experience. "Audio is different," he said. "You can hide that." Most people today walk around with their audio earbuds stuck in their ears all the time, he noted. "Nobody knows that they're being augmented then."

Keslin later explained that audio was something Niantic had toyed with when they were building Ingress, a location-based, augmented reality game considered a precursor to Pokémon GO.

Audio integration was considered in a variety of ways, according to the CTO, for example, suggesting to players which location they should visit, or having their phone call them with further clues when they reached a waypoint. Another possibility was combining audio with a phone's sensors, like an accelerometer, to know what a person was doing. "AR is not just visual," he added.

Asked if audio clues would ever come to Pokémon GO, Keslin told TechCrunch: "Maybe. Or maybe we'd use it in other games," he said, smiling. "We're not a one-game wonder."

Related Roundup: Apple VR Project
Tags: Pokémon GO, ARKit

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