Two Months After the Release: How’s Pokémon Go Doing?

It seems like all of the gaming headlines right now read, “Pokémon Go is Dying.” However, that’s an interesting claim since Pokémon Go is still one of the top 10 downloads from the iTunes store and Google Play. It’s also still the number one grossing mobile game on the market. Pokémon Go has had an incredible two months, and I’d argue it’s still far from its death.

Pokémon Go’s Active Users Have Drop

The reason why so many people think that Pokémon Go’s death is imminent is that the game’s active users dropped significantly in the month of August. Pokémon Go was released on July 6, 2016. ComicBook.com reported that Pokémon Go reached its peak usage on July 23 and has since lost 20 percent of its user base.

This augmented reality game reached almost 40 million active weekly users in just over a month on the market. Pokémon Go’s weekly user base is now hovering around 30 million. These numbers suggest that Pokémon Go is losing some interest, but an initial surge in users and then a drop off is typical of most popular mobile games. The retention rate of new users for Pokémon Go has never been above 60 percent.

According to Arstechnica.com, it took Angry Birds nine months to achieve 20 million downloads. It only took Pokémon Go one month to get an unprecedented 100 million downloads. Plus, the game is still bringing in nearly $2 million per day. Nintendo and Niantic are more than likely thrilled with the game’s wild success.

Why People Have Stopped Playing

There are all sorts of possible reasons why some people have stopped playing Pokémon Go. For instance, some people simply downloaded it to see what all the hype was about and never logged in more than a handful of times. Others played the game for a few weeks and got bored — something Niantic needs to fix. Flaws with the game and negative press could also be reasons why some people have stopped playing.

Pokémon Go gameplay is centered on capturing Pokémon, but you can’t do much with the Pokémon once they’re captured. You don’t even have much chance at winning a gym battle until a Pokémon has reached a combat power over 1,000, which is hard to do. Pokémon Go users want to be able to do more, such as trade Pokémon with other players and enter into live battles. It’s likely that the drop in active users is partially due to the lack of these game features. Another complaint is that when a player opens the game for the first time, there is no introduction or explanation on how to play.

It’s also possible that Pokémon Go’s slow down in popularity is due to the start of a new school year. Data does show that players are logged into Pokémon Go over the weekend much more than during the week. Numbers could also tail off as the weather gets cooler.

Is Pokémon Go Dying?

Even though Pokémon Go is seeing a drop in active users, the game still has a long way to go before it is dead. It’s important to point out that weekly active users do not tell the whole story. For instance, SurveyMonkey’s poll excluded smartphone users under 13 years of age, which obviously means that a chunk of weekly users were not included in the data. However, the data as a whole does show a downward trend in the popularity of the game.

If you look at monthly active users, the data is more promising for Pokémon Go. At the beginning of August, the game had 55 million active users. That’s remarkable when you consider that Snapchat has 85 million active users.

If Pokémon Go wants to prevent its user base from continuing to drop, it needs to find new ways to keep players engaged. Players are eagerly waiting for updates and hope to be able to trade Pokémon with others in the future and even have local battles.

Niantic has been working on an update and has been busy fixing flaws. For instance, Niantic removed the flawed Pokémon Go tracker and forced several third party companies out of business because of their attempts at profiting from the game. Niantic also took a stand against GPS spoofers and other alleged cheaters by banning suspected players.

Pokémon Go is fun, but it has gotten a lot of negative press. Dead bodies have been found while playing the game, countless accidents have been caused by distracted drivers, and criminal activity has been reported. Despite all this, millions of people are still playing. As long as Niantic comes out with a good update that satisfies players’ desires, the game will not die anytime soon. Without an update to gameplay, more and more players will likely lose interest.

Image via Flickr by Sadie Hernandez