Pokémon Go has swept through the western world and continues to rewrite the record books.
by Don Harward, Staff Writer
Pokémon Go was the shot heard around the world bringing a seek-and-acquire, smart-phone targeted, immersive video game that is free and easy to get; both important factors in its’ phenomenal success.
The start-up analysts at TechCrunch reported that in the less than two months since its debut, the Pokémon Go app has been downloaded by more than 100 million users. To put that into perspective the Pokémon Go developer Niantic Inc. has, in a mere 19 days, acquired half as many users as Facebook has in the United States over the past 10 years. The number of users are expected to explode following the much-anticipated launch of the game in the tech savvy countries of India and China.
Pokémon Go also surpasses Facebook in the average amount of time spent on their platforms daily. According to Forbes, the average Pokémon Go user spends over 33 minutes in the app daily compared to about 22 minutes on Facebook or almost 18 minutes on Snapchat.
The BBC recently stated that, “Apple confirmed on Friday that Pokemon Go had broken the App Store record for (the most) downloads in the first week of release…”
App analytic firm, App Annie, reported that Pokémon Go generates an astounding $10 million daily in the United States alone; without selling any advertising. Instead of following the established advertiser-driven revenue model that has dominated the industry, Niantic derives income from the game itself through in-game purchases. Players can buy various modestly priced convenience items and virtual objects that can otherwise only be obtained after achieving certain in-game milestones, allowing players to minimize their time investment. The result is that a relative few, well-heeled players, generate the bulk of the income and subsidize the free play enjoyed by the non-paying masses.
The Pokémon Go business model demonstrates that it is possible to share a product freely with the world and, with the right mechanisms in place, be able to generate enough income to pay the bills. Niantic may have set the stage for a new era in which the entertainment industry is finally freed from the shackles of advertising.