If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go yet, then you probably don’t go online or outside, or just happen to live under a particularly secluded rock that at this point, we frankly wouldn’t mind crawling under as well. Whether you have given in to the retro-fueled, augmented reality craze or are still holding your ground, there is no denying the fact that Nintendo and Niantic really hit a homerun this time around, the scope of which nobody could have predicted. And, it’s not only about money either, although Nintendo stock has officially seen a record-breaking 50% sore in price since the launch date.
The fact is that even outside the business, gaming and smartphone branches, Pokemon Go is a force to be reckoned with and one that is starting to affect us at a striking rate. A quick browse through the news quickly reveals that many other businesses are starting to ride on the success wave as well. For instance, T-Mobile is offering free in-app data for a year and just recently, Yelp added a « PokeStop Nearby » filter. The feature is already available in the US, Australia and New Zealand and will basically list all the businesses near you that also happen to have a PokeStop close by, so you can fill up on PokeBalls. There are no reports of any kind of speculation with this feature as of yet, but even with a random generator and crowdsourced location information, the economical aftermath is all too real.
And frankly, that is perfectly understandable. Like we already reported, with over 21 million active daily users, Pokemon Go has effectively become bigger than Twitter in the US. And as more and more markets receive an official release, the collective numbers are only ramping up. It is also important to note that Pokemon Go is doing extremely well in terms of both user retention rate and monetization, breaking industry averages on both fronts. SurveyMonkey data shows that around 7 out of 10 people who download the app, return to it on the following day – a number which is typically around 3 for most mobile apps. And as for monetization, the same source claims that the platform is averaging a revenue per daily active user of $0.25, while other insanely-popular, micro transaction titles like Can Crush are managing about $0.15.
This all adds up to a whopping revenue stream that some have speculated makes for over a $1.6 million in Nintendo’s pocket a day. However, there are some major costs and unforeseen expenses related to Pokemon Go as well. For one, since the game isn’t officially available on all markets yet, alternative APK sources to acquire it, like apkmirror.com have reported incredible surges in traffic.
Yesterday, XDA spoke out on the topic as well, revealing that they have been dealing with a hugely elevated interest towards GPS spoofing and other ways to cheat the game. Seeing how Niantic has a lot of experience in this field from their previous smash hit mobile game – Ingress, cheating is hard and banning is definitely a thing. However, if you are really adamant, there are still ways of bending the rules (rooted device, plus Lucky Patcher and installing Fake GPS and a system app, but you didn’t hear it from us). There are even whole dedicated websites and projects, like PokemonGoAnywhere popping up online to meet the cheating demand alone, so inadvertently the game is boosting the mobile dev community as a whole, by presenting a new cat and mouse style challenge.
And if all the aforementioned points still aren’t convincing enough as far as the social implications of Pokemon Go, may we refer you back to the recent and definitely not isolated incident with an Australian police department. And things are looking quite a bit more serious in the Middle East, where on Friday authorities in the Gulf Arab states of Kuwait and United Arab Emirates officially warned players of the « security dangers » of playing Pokemon Go. To quote the Kuwait statement:
The danger in dealing with this game is that it involves the user photographing areas nearby with … smart phones which transfer the pictures of the sites to third parties, …
This, of course, relates to government or military buildings and facilities, as well as mosques and other religious sites. But the second part of the statement sound even more worrying:
The interior ministry has informed security men to show zero tolerance to anyone approaching such prohibited sites, deliberately or not, …
So all this considered, we would love to hear your two cents on the whole Pokemon Go craze. Are you on board? Has it spiraled out of control? Or do you still get a kick out of walking in the middle of a crowded park and yelling « Charizard, Charizard! »? Because we sure do. Tell us in the comment section below.