Five years after the hugely popular launch of Niantic’s Pokémon GO the game has amassed an impressive revenue, surpassing $5 billion from in-game purchases.
Sensor Tower reported its findings following the fifth anniversary of the mobile game. It stated that the game had generated an average profit of $1 billion per year, making Pokémon GO the dominant Geolocation AR title across the world. It included a chart containing the revenue generated from the first half of each year, showing a trend of continuous growth over the previous year. The most recent results show a 34% increase, rising from the first half of 2020’s $479 million to 2021’s initial $641.6 million.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, it was anticipated that games such as Pokémon GO would suffer from the limitations imposed by social distancing and lockdowns. However, the app adapted to the pandemic through key updates that increased the game’s play-from-home functionality. As a result, 2020 saw a huge increase in revenue for the game, totaling $1.3 billion globally. Its success continued into 2021, with the year’s first half generating a profit of approximately half of the total 2020 revenue.
The game is not the only AR mobile title available on mobile, with the likes of Jurassic World Alive and future competition The Witcher Monster Slayer capitalizing on the genre. However, Pokémon GO has maintained its place at the top, boasting approximately 632 million downloads, being most popular in The United States of America with a reported 115.5 million downloads. The U.S. is also responsible for the most player spending, bringing in approximately 36.6% of its lifetime profit at $1.9 billion. Japan is the country with the second highest total spending, providing 32% of the game’s revenue.
While Niantic has generated a significant amount of money from the game, the title is available to download for free. The two places players typically download the game are from Google Play and the Apple App Store. Google Play reportedly obtained the most downloads with 487 million installs. Additionally, it benefited the most from player spending at roughly $2.7 billion. However, despite the App Store providing fewer downloads at 144.8 million, the accumulation from player spending was still close at $2.4 billion.
The game’s relevance has been maintained through more than just its adaptation to the pandemic, but also its continuous expansion of the in-game Pokédex. At the time of the game’s launch, 7 generations of games existed, with over 800 total Pokémon. Niantic released the game with only the first generation, and over time it expanded with additional Pokémon. The game’s most recent update introduced creatures from Pokémon X & Y’s Kalos region.