If there is one timeless video game franchise that gathers crowds from all age groups and social statuses, it is Nintendo’s Pokémon. The old heads among us can still remember 1998, when the Pokemon tsunami flooded the West, and throughout the years, we grew up with those games, and more youngsters joined in. As with Sonic, Mario, or Final Fantasy, Pokémon is one of those giants of the video game industry that have been able to keep their fanbase since day 1, as getting old does not impede all the pleasure, fun, nostalgia, and dreams they provided to their audience.
And with Pokémon, let’s face it: we all screamed at one point some Pokémon’s name and “I CHOSE YOU” and then proceeded to go “tululululululu,” imitating the transition between fight/normal screen because, gosh darn if being a trainer is not one of the coolest things ever!
Thus, listening to all those prayers to the PokéGods, Niantic released Pokémon GO in 2016 on mobile devices. The San Francisco-based company used its savoir-faire in augmented reality to deliver a game where players would not only be able to catch and encounter Pokémon in specific locations in the real world with just their phone or tablet but to do so they would have to actively hunt in the outdoors and engage with other players. If you ever see someone fiercely staring at their phone before breaking into a run while yelling, “I’ll get you this time,” it is a Trainer.
But you might already know that: when the game was released five years ago, people simply went crazy for it. The title turned into a smashing global phenomenon worldwide. Whole crowds of Trainers were invading all public spaces, nose on their screen, filling their Pokédex, hoping to become ‘the very best.’ It was crazy then, and it is still crazy now, only less pervasive maybe. Yet, the community is still massive and engaged, the numbers generated are still astounding, and the game is more than alive and well. And as you will see, COVID-19 did not stop the PokéFrenzy.
Let’s try to organize all that information full of numbers and facts and get the most out of them because “gotta catch ’em all”!
Pokémon GO User Stats
Pokémon GO allows players to be the masters of their odyssey, literally going through their own “leaving Pallet Town” story. Players are always part of the formula for success, and the Pokémon GO community has been said to be one of the best.
1. Most players are between the ages of 21-30.
(Source: Springer Link)
It means that the average age of Pokemon GO players is 26.
Group 21-25 is first (32.6%), followed by group 26-30 (25.4%).
Group 31-35 is third (11.1%) and group 20 and less represents 18%.
The last group (36-40+) represents 12.8%.
Male users account for 58.7% and female users for 41.3.
Pokémon GO attracts people from all walks of life. The game is not violent, easy to play, promotes physical activity and discovering your neighborhood, and interacting with more people. However, it is easy to understand why millennials are the most active group of players considering that they have grown up with Pokémon at its beginning. Even in conversations on Reddit, you can see that most players are at least over or around 25.
2. The number of daily active users in the US alone and via iPhone is 827,205.
Great Britain is second with 272,015 and Japan is third with 269,733.
It went from 28 million during summer 2016 to 5 million around December 2016.
The Top 5 also includes Sweden and Canada (in this order), and we can also see that it is pretty popular in Europe on the iPhone. However, let’s not forget that statistics have also shown that players are way more active and present on Android. A shame that those numbers were not shared.
3. Pokémon GO was under controversy in August 2021 for removing the bonuses they had implemented because of COVID.
To counter the quarantines in 2020, Niantic decided to double the radius within which Trainers could play, making it possible to do so normally from your home. It was also a huge advantage for people with disabilities who could now take part in all the activities. They reversed their decision since then, under the pressure from players.
The game has also been cited for being the reason behind several traffic accidents due to drivers playing and not paying attention to the road.
Niantic has corrected its mistakes with the locations little by little. Still, it is certainly not the company’s fault if players are willing to disrespect important places and trample all over people’s privacy. Or follow the law and wait to be out of their car to play. This trend was the worst during the summer of 2016. But with the fad dying and only real players staying, it got way better.
Pokémon GO Key Stats
With such success, everyone is curious about topics focused on revenues, profits, downloads, and more information around the game itself.
4. The game was downloaded 1 billion times as of August 2019.
It only took 19 days for Pokémon GO to cross the 50 million downloads bar, taking it to 75 million.
It only took 13 hours for Pokémon GO to reach #1 on the Highest Grossing App chart in the US.
Pokémon GO broke records left and right as soon as it was released. The game was quickly the most anticipated of 2016.
5. Pokemon GO generated $5 billion in player spending over its 5 years on the market.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
The game has already accumulated $641.6 million in the first half of 2021 (H1 2021).
It means that its revenue went up by 34% compared to H1 2020 and 130% for H1 2017.
Over the last 5 years, the US spent $1.9 billion in player spending (36.6%) placing the country at the top of the Biggest Revenue Generating Countries list.
Japan is #2 with 32% and Germany is #3 with 5.4%.
It has been estimated that an average of $4 million is being spent every day (2019).
It took the title 90 days to reach the $600 million threshold, becoming the fastest mobile game to do so.
As of March 2019, Nintendo earned a total of 2.5 billion on mobile through Pokémon GO alone.
Being free-to-play, it is perfectly normal that microtransactions take a prominent place in the game. It is practiced quite reasonably in Pokémon GO, and players do have a choice and are not forced. But, the items available are so interesting that no one complains about having to spend real money sometimes.
6. Pokémon GO made $23 million during the first week of the COVID outbreak in the US.
In 2018, it accumulated $816 million and $894 million in 2019.
Nintendo, The Pokémon Company and Google invested $30 million in Pokémon GO back in 2015.
You thought COVID had an impact on the title because it involves going outside? Try again. Niantic reacted quickly and took all the proper measures to ensure that the players could continue to enjoy the game. Some of those new rules were so popular that players petitioned for them to stay even now that life resumed.
7. The studio caught five Guinness World Records a month after its release.
(Source: Guinness World Records)
The game won 14 awards and was nominated 13 times.
Niantic has 859 employees nowaday. In 2016, there were only 100 people amongst whom you could find 70 full-time employees .
From the BAFTA to famous video games ceremony awards like The Golden Joystick, Pokémon GO has been everywhere. And not only in 2016 but over the years.
Pokemon GO Usage Stats
The game has a addictive nature that makes you want to come back as often as you can. And once you are in, it is difficult not to be engrossed in all the activities Niantic has in store for all Trainers and the excellent spirit of the community.
8. Most players spend an average time of 1-2 hours on Pokémon GO daily.
Here, it can be tricky because it depends on what people understand by “playing.” Is it being in front of your screen and actively engaging with the game? Is it the fact that you are not playing yourself but leaving your PoGO+ to do the work? The general opinion is that it takes you between 1-2h on average to sort through all the gifts, the new items, the news, the hunt, and the socials.
9. Pokémon GO is ranked #190 on Twitch.
Over 7 days: the average number of viewers is 906, the average number of channels streaming the game is 29, the average number of viewers/channel is 31.2 and the average number of hours watched is 152,043.
The peak viewers is 49,313 in July 2017 and the peak channels is 321 in February 2021.
The game is streamed by 19% more channels during the weekend, and there are 17% more viewers.
Do not be fooled by the seemingly low numbers. Pokemon GO is first and foremost interactive. Not many people would be thrilled always to watch someone catching a bunch of Pokémon when they could be the ones doing the catching and be all excited about it.
10. There are more than 35,000 sponsored locations in Pokémon GO.
As of February 2017, 500 million Trainers have visited sponsored locations.
Sponsored locations are an excellent addition for Niantic and the businesses. Niantic can make some extra money, and businesses get extra customers and traffic. McDonald’s in Japan saw their numbers climb even higher after starting the program with Pokémon GO. Unfortunately, they stopped and deleted all their gyms and PokéStops because COVID was keeping customers at bay.
Pokemon GO for Google Play and iOS
The game is only accessible on mobile devices, which makes sense considering its gallivanting nature. It also makes it easier for players to keep an eye on timed events and always be ready for some swapping if they meet a fellow Trainer randomly.
11. Pokemon GO has been downloaded from Google Play 487 million times as of July 2021.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
It represents 77% of the total number of downloads.
Players using Google Play have spent the most with a total of $2.7 billion (52.8%).
The game garnered over 14 million reviews on Google Play and earned a rating of 4 stars.
Android was the favorite of the crowds. In less than a week after release, the game was already installed on 5% of Android devices in the US.
12. Pokemon GO has been downloaded from App Store 144.8 million times of July 2021.
(Source: Sensor Tower)
It represents 23% of the total number of downloads.
Players using the App Store have spent a total of $2.4 billion (47.2%).
The game received over 385,000 ratings on the App Store and earned a rating of 4 stars.
Apple users have gained that reputation over the years that they are playing fewer games than Android users and spending less money on microtransactions.
Pokémon GO Events
Staying true to its “let’s do this thing outside” origins, Pokémon GO does not have traditional conventions. With PoGO, the fans all meet outdoors and enjoy many fun activities where a lot of walking is involved. Niantic also seized this opportunity to promote some non-profit initiatives.
13. Pokémon GO promotes a really tight-knitted social bond amongst Trainers through their events and activities.
(Source: Niantic, Eurogamer)
Community Day is a recurring monthly worldwide event where a specific Pokémon is celebrated and Trainers go out and play together.
More than 400,000 Trainers in Dortmund, Yokosuka and Chicago attended the Pokémon GO events in 2018.
Millions more joined them in a series of global quests especially created for the events.
Over the summer 2018, 113 million Friends connections have been established and 2.2 billion gifts have been shared between friends.
Trainers walked over 260,000 km and caught 4.5 million Pokémon.
One thing you cannot take away from Niantic is how close they are to their community and how they also keep them together. The Pokémon GO fandom is known to be one of the friendliest and most welcoming. They are cutely called Trainers, and they nurture their spirit of friendship well.
14. Pokémon GO Fest 2019 generated $249 million in tourism revenue.
Chicago brought $120 million, Montréal $71 million and Dortmund $56 million.
More than 64,000 Trainers attended the event in Chicago. There were 86,000 of them in Dortmund and 39,000 in Montréal.
The event in Yokohama attracted 150,000 Trainers and 24 million Pokémon were caught.
Events in specific are open to all Trainers meaning that Niantic is bringing in money for tourism in North America and Europe.
15. Despite the pandemic, Pokémon GO Fest 2020 still made a whooping $17.5 million.
(Source: Games Industry)
The event was mostly online thanks to Niantic’s measures, even if some players still decided to venture outside.
Players spent $8.9 million on the first day and $8.6 million on the second day.
This means that Pokémon GO Fest is the second most grossing event of the franchise.
This success can also be explained by the fact that millions of trainers could fully participate since it was online. With real-life events, not everyone can travel. But this time, all you needed was your phone and good Internet!
16. Pokémon GO Fest 2021 generated $21 million in total.
This year too, the event was held online. The first day brought in $11 million and the second day picked up $9.8 million.
The 2021 event was by far the most lucrative and most successful of these last 5 years.
Same as above, but let’s add to that the new Trainers and the fact that Niantic had also made sure to organize something in several countries to allow players to have fun outside and make new friends. PokéFests are the ultimate social gatherings!
To Sum Up
When the fad died after the summer of 2016, people thought that Pokémon GO would also die before the end of the year. So they stopped checking it because we were not seeing hordes of players trampling all over the pavement anymore. Only, the game was still alive and is doing more than well. The players who stayed are the ones who matter since they are the ones who, from the beginning, were genuinely involved with the game. Whether it was nostalgia, a recommendation, seeing it on the first page of the App Store, etc., players were there for the game itself and not a quick dash of adrenaline.
Niantic keeps providing a lot of excellent content (with 721 Pokémon running around), and community life is vibrant and heartwarming. Looking at Pokémon GO, you just want to belong for the game does show that it is open to everyone (and even more so now that the new radius allows people with disabilities to enjoy it from home). The title has more years full of prosperity awaiting, and one day, maybe, all those pesky technical issues will be part of the past.
So next time someone says, “Uh?! Pokémon GO still exists?! Who plays that dead game?”, show them this article.