To the surprise of absolutely everyone but people who play the game, Pokémon GO just topped as the world’s most profitable mobile game in August 2019 at $176 million USD.
Before you get too caught up in that number, you should know this isn’t even the most Pokémon GO has ever earned in a single month. During its launch in 2016, the game grossed $250 million in July, $195 million in August and $141 million in September. And in October of the same year, it made headlines as the fastest mobile game to make $600 million, finally finishing 2016 as the number one downloaded mobile game across both Google Play and iOS with a whopping $950 million in revenue.
In 2019, Pokémon GO is still going strong. In fact, it’s only been nine months since it last earned the top-grossing title back in November 2018. So why are people so surprised?
1. There’s No Purchase Pressure
Unlike other free-to-play mobile games that offer tempting in-app purchases for extra lives, extra time, or extra energy, Pokémon GO is still only peddling purchases out of their item shop. Not only is the shop designed as something a player would need to specifically seek out to access (no pop-ups or special offer click-bait), but the majority of items available for purchase are not necessities needed for gameplay.
If you’re running out of Poké Balls, Raid Passes, Potions, or even Gifts to send friends? Stock up by playing the game and spinning PokéStops, battling gyms, or leveling up. Better yet, if there is something you specifically want to buy? Don’t spend real money — just take over a local gym and collect a max of 50 PokéCoins per day.
2. It’s Been Three Years Since the Release Date
Sure, in 2016, everyone was playing Pokémon GO. The game had just been released following a massive year-long marketing campaign celebrating Pokémon’s 20th Anniversary — we even got a Super Bowl commercial that year:
Pokémon was cashing in on the nostalgia hype to propel the company into its next successful 20 years, and so far, it’s paid off. Looking at Pokémon GO specifically, there have been numerous updates since 2016 including more items, better appraisal systems, improved character customization, a trading system, a friend system, and — most importantly — more Pokémon, including the Unova expansion added just last week.
3. The Idea That No One Really Plays Anymore
Actually, Pokémon GO just hit 1 billion downloads this year (announced in July with a Japanese game trailer). Beyond the mobile game itself, Niantic saw more than 3 million people attend the various live events put on for Pokémon GO in 2018. This year that number is only expected to go up, especially after the Pokémon GO Fest 2019 in Chicago welcomed 60,000 players in June. That’s almost three times the 21,000 attendees in 2018.
So, Pokémon GO being announced as August’s top-grossing game? Not a surprise.
To learn more about Pokémon GO, visit PokemonGOLive.com.