Pokemon Go is now two years old and still going strong. If this has come as a surprise to you, you aren’t alone. While 800 million people downloaded the game when it was brand new, the hype and novelty quickly wore off. However, that still left a dedicated core audience who are still going out regularly to catch em all. Niantic, the creators of Pokemon Go are still hard at work on bringing updates to the game and holding events that bring the community together. Pokemon Go is, in fact, enjoying a boom right now making now the best time to come back to Pokemon Go.
Maybe you were one of those who started playing when everyone was doing it and you got bored with it. Or maybe you’ve opened up the app a few times here and there just to see what’s going on. Either way, there is something new for you.
In July 2017, raids were introduced that bring players together at gyms to fight raid level Pokemon and get Legendary Pokemon. March 2018 brought the introduction of a quest system that allows you to obtain mythical Pokemon like Mew. But most recently, it is the addition of trading Pokemon and having friends that has everyone coming back again.
Players can trade Pokemon with their friends who are in close proximity to them. There are of course some restrictions on being able to trade the special Pokemon and it does cost stardust to perform a trade but, the feature is there. A gifting system has also encouraged players to head back out to Pokestops to get gifts to give friends all over the world. A Pokemon Go player in Portland, Oregon can take delight in getting a gift from someone in a small village in Ireland. There are hundreds of Facebook groups, forums, and Reddit posts looking for people who will exchange gifts. Giving gifts not only gives your friends loot but it also increases your friendship level. When your friendship level reaches a new height you get new rewards, including a pretty decent chunk of XP.
Pokestops themselves have been improved. There are more of them than there used to be and those that do exist are in slightly better locations. Ones that were in the middle of roundabouts are now off to one side of the road, making it a safer location for kids of all ages.
Niantic is still hosting events around the world that are drawing in crowds over more than 100,000 people from all over the world. But yes, they do still have some difficulties when large crowds like this are all trying to use the internet at the same time and bugs prevent people from playing.
The next generation of Pokemon, that will be generation 4, is going to be on its way eventually. This opens up the opportunity for more than 100 new Pokemon to be introduced to the game. Plus at E3 this year we heard about Let’s Go Pikachu and Let’s Go Eevee, two games that will tie in with Pokemon Go and allow you to transfer Pokemon from Go to Let’s Go. That game will be coming out this fall on the Nintendo Switch.
Since Pokemon Go launched it has had $1.8 billion in revenue. It crossed the $1 billion line in January 2017. This means that players are spending $2 million on average every day. It won’t come as a surprise to anyone to learn that the United States and Japan top the all-time player spending chart. They’ve spent $607 million and $500 million respectively. Germany, Great Britain, and Taiwan are also in the top 5. Google Play accounts for 58% of revenue.
Niantic is still planning on growing the game too. There’s one last country they’re hoping to roll out the game to, China. They’re partnering with NetEase to bring Pokemon Go to the country. There’s no clear idea yet when that will happen, or if it will happen at all though as China has very strict laws about foreign media being released in the country.
This year Niantic has acquired two companies, augmented reality company Escher Reality was the first. At the time it was announced that Niantic planned to allow third-party developers to build AR games similar to Pokemon Go. The second company was Matrix Mill, a computer vision, and machine learning company. This acquisition advances Niantic’s efforts to provide more realistic AR experiences. In a demo when the acquisition was announced, the world saw video footage of Pikachu running behind objects on the ground and hiding behind it. If applied to Pokemon Go this could add a whole new level of difficulty to catching Pokemon. At least for those who can use AR mode.
Niantic has been working to make Pokemon Go more fun to play for everyone and thanks to all the changes, plus the amazing summer weather half the world is experiencing it looks like we’re all going out to enjoy the game again. So if you’re looking for something to do this summer and you need to get out of the house load up Pokemon Go and head out on an adventure. You never know where you’ll end up or who you’ll meet along the way. Invite your friends along and make a day of it, you certainly won’t be the only ones.