Is Pokemon Go Dead? Here Are The Facts

E-gasp! How can it be dying?!

Pokemon Go Launch and Reception

Discover Pokémon in the Real World with Pokémon GO!

The energy was electric after the first trailer for Pokemon Go was released. Google even released a fake trailer about looking for Pokemon trainers to help create the maps and catch all the Pokemon. The hype captured the interest of novel and veteran players alike. Pokemon was already popular, Pokemon Go just made many Pokemon players’ dreams into reality. 

Pokemon Go was released in the United States on July 5th, 2016. There was excitement and hype for the mobile app building after the first trailer was released in September, 2015. Downloads for the app skyrocketed on launch day. A record 45 million downloads were completed in the first month. 

The reception was extremely positive after the launch. The game was even referenced in the 2016 elections. Hilary Clinton created a Pokemon Go event at her champaign spot, and Donald Trump used a Pokemom attacking ad to promote his champaign.    

Niantic was not ready for how popular the app would become in such a short time, and the serverservers could not keep up with all the users. At its peak, 45 million global users were playing the game. It dropped down to 30 million after the first month of its release. There were complaints of server issues and bugs within the game. 

There were also complaints about not being able to do anything else but catch Pokemon. The first couple of trailers referenced people coming together to trade and battle each other in the real world. When the game started, those features were not included. This lost a lot of players’ interest, and another reason why Pokemon Go users dropped so suddenly.

Latest Data

While there are not nearly as many active players as there were when it was released in 2016, there are players who still play the game daily. There is about 12 million players with an active account in the US currently. There are 60 million active players worldwide. 

Daily Downloads vary on the season and event history. More players downloaded the game or content within the game during the summer months. Niantic was also hosting more Community Days and Raid Days during the warmer months to get more players back on the app.  

Niantic has also incorporated trading and battling within the game. They have even created Pokemon leagues where you can battle different tier Pokemon against one another. Players can also battle their Team Leaders as practice and to learn how battling works. Given that these areas have stirred some interest, the developers will most likely be working on ways to improve and add to it. 

How Active Are Developers

Niantic has hired a plethora of new developers since the launch of the game in 2016. Especially, after the fall of the Pokemon Go Fest in 2017, when the game was glitching and the servers struggled to keep up with all the players. In 2018, the developers came up with various new ways to entice players to come back to the app. 

The Development team created Community Days, Raid days, and social interactions with the game. Community days are when a specific Pokemon is more accessible on a certain date and time. The Pokemon can have great IVs, special moves, or even be shiny. Raid days are when Legendary Pokemon are accessible during a certain date and time. Teams are working on these activities monthly, which is also keeping the player-base coming back for more. 

The developers also created social interactions within the app. Battling and trading are now possible between players. A feature that many players begged for shortly after the game was released. These changes brought back returning players in droves. Developers just finished another feature called AR Snapshot in 2019. Players are able to take pictures of their Pokemon in the real world and share it with others on social media. 

Niantic’s website currently has multiple job openings for a variety of positions within the company. Their search for team members is also worldwide - with jobs in Tokyo to London to California. They also have hired recruiters to help in their search to promote their company’s growth in the coming years. These are positive signs that the company is doing well - and isn’t dying off anytime soon. 

Is The App Dying? 

Community activity has rejuvenated the Pokemon GO playbase. Facebook Groups, town Discords and Whatsapps groups have kept the hunt alive in active players. These groups help players connect to take down gyms, complete Raids and trade or battle with each other. 

Community activity is also strong on Reddit. There are multiple posts about the game made with dates as recent as May 2019. There are also subreddit groups on Reddit pertaining to the game, or the specific team with the game. Teams such as Mystic, Valor or Instinct. Pokemon Go is a subreddit group for active members to chat about the game, meet up to trade or battle, or send gifts to each other in the game. 

Given that these community supports are still going strong presently, the popularity of the game is certainly not dying.  

How Is The Company Faring?  

Niantic makes around 58 million dollars in revenue per month, with most of those earnings coming from Pokemon Go. Their revenue has increased compared to 2017 numbers, given that the company has incorporated more social dynamics and events to bring players back. These changes have increased the amount of daily active players as well as provided more support for the app and the developing team. 

Niantic has put more money and investments into the app since it’s release in 2016. Given that the app has had its fair share of issues with their release, Niantic has expanded the amount of developers on staff. Niantic hired even more developers in 2017 after the Pokemon Go event fiasco, leading to even more job opportunities and growth. 

With the larger development teams, Niantic has been able to launch more Pokemon, events, and social events such as battling and trading amongst players. These additions have helped to bring more players back to the app in 2018. These players have also stayed around in 2019, due to these additions and overall better game design. 

While Niantic’s run with Pokemon Go has been a rather shaky one, they don’t seem to be struggling too much now. The game is definitely not “dead.” 

Prediction of where Pokemon Go will be in 3 years 

Niantic has seen great increases in its app as well as bringing back returning players. There are many avenues the company can take for the game’s future. There are still generations of Pokemon that have not been released yet. They can be added to the game to get players to keep playing and entice players who prefer the later generation Pokemon. 

The game could also add more interactions with the Pokemon themselves. Within the main Pokemon games, trainers could feed and pet their Pokemon. Niantic could incorporate something similar within their app and reward the player with items or special animations for doing so. 

Slemon, Niantic’s product manager, was interviewed about the future of the game. He mentioned that the company wants to go in a less traditional route compared to the mainstream games. The company wants to utilize the AR system and having Pokemon be “in the real world”. He hinted to updating the battle system as well, so that battles can be more effective between players. 

Overall, Niantic has definitely come back in a big way over the past two years. While its reception may not be as massive as it was when it launched, it is showing promise with its steady growth. The Pokemon Go community will just have to wait and see if they can keep it up. 

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Traveling from the Kanto region to Hyrule, Michelle has experienced various worlds and gameplay. There is no world she wouldn't like to explore!
Gamer Since: 2006
Favorite Genre: RPG
Currently Playing: Pokemon Black
Top 3 Favorite Games:The Walking Dead, BioShock, Alice: Madness Returns

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