Branded with one of the most recognisable names in modern pop culture it may be, but Pokémon Go continues to shatter all expectations.
Released back in 2016 and promptly kickstarting a worldwide phenomenon, Niantic’s mobile game soared to the top of download charts, raking in enough cash to secure the developer’s future for a lifetime. Did the overnight success result in an apathetic approach to post-launch support? We’ll leave that for you to decide, but at the very least, the studio publicly struggled to accommodate for millions of would-be Trainers – a fault spectacularly showcased by its disastrous first attempt at holding a real-world fan event.
Three years have passed since then, however, and while Pokémon Go‘s core player base might not be the size it once was, it continues to generate money hand over fist. As per analyst website Sensor Tower’s latest report, the smash hit has surpassed an eye-watering $3 billion USD in lifetime revenue and boasts a total of 541 million downloads worldwide.
In crunching the numbers even further, Sensor Tower states that the average revenue per download is roughly $5.60, with 2016 remaining the title’s top-grossing year at $832.4 million. Total annual gross for 2017 and 2018 was $589.3 and $816.3 million respectively, with 2019’s current total standing at $774.3 million. Should player spending continue at the same rate for the remaining two months of the year, Pokémon Go will be on track to surpass its 2016 record.
As for the cause of that sudden upward tick, it’s no secret. Niantic has redoubled its efforts to deliver new gameplay experiences over the last 10 months, not least with the introduction of Team Rocket and their powerful Shadow Pokémon. With dedicated online for multiplayer battles scheduled to arrive early next year and assuredly a host of limited-time events to come in between, I have no doubt that 2019 will be Pokémon Go‘s most successful year yet.