One thing about popular culture: Much of it doesn’t stay popular for long.
But augmented reality mobile game Pokemon Go, which was a well-publicized sensation in 2016, has stayed red-hot, if less talked about by the non-gaming public. And it seems positioned to become even bigger as 5G technology takes hold.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, in March Pokemon Go modified the game so players could limit their out-of-home searching or do it in more remote places where they wouldn’t be likely to meet anybody, except in their own imagination. That proved to be a great idea.
Market intelligence firm Sensor Tower’s Store Intelligence reports that Pokemon Go racked up sales of $1 billion so far this year, third best in the mobile gaming biz.
That also means 2020 is its best year, surpassing 2016 when kids and adults went out searching for Pokemon Go hither and yon. In that first year, it had sales of “just” $832 million.
Since its debut, Pokemon Go has chalked up $4.2 billion in player spend, $1.5 billion (or 36% of the total) coming from the U.S. It’s grabbed $2.2 billion in revenue from Google Play, (53.4% of its total) and the rest, or $1.9 billion, from The App Store.
The game has been downloaded 600 million times.
The next big step for Pokemon Go is in the budding 5G space. Hong Kong investment marketing research firm MobiusTrend Group observed Thursday that much improved augmented reality is “the killer application for 5G,” which could put Pokemon Go in a great position and lead to AR’s mass adoption by the broader public as they experiment with 5G.
MobiusTrend says, “The concept of augmented reality has a long history. Given the popularity of Pokémon Go, it may be able to encourage and educate users to use AR technology. Mobile devices are one of the first mainstream devices [through which] consumers are exposed to AR technology” and lead more companies into the business. Pokemon Go, the firm says, has a good chance “to spread high-quality AR experience to millions of new users.”