Pokemon GO just had its best year ever, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon

By Joe Robinson 13 Jan 2020 0

We don’t talk about Pokemon GO much here, although I am genuinely interested in the projects that have tried to follow in its wake. Harry Potter: Wizard’s Unite seemed like a good idea on paper, but the execution was definitely iffy. Minecraft Earth still has a lot of potential I feel but we haven’t checked in on that game in a while - it’s still running through it’s open beta though.

As for Niantic’s 2016 smash hit, it’s just had its best year ever - SensorTower data for 2019 showed that in 2019 players spent $894 Million USD, $62 Million more than what it got during its first year. 2017 saw a 29% drop to around $500M, but 2018 saw that figure rise again to just over $800m, and now the game is earning just shy of $900 Million. To-date, the game has earned $3.13 Billion USD.

2019 community day poster

That’s a lot of money, and it was the best performing location-based mobile game in 2019 by a huge margin (the next best game, Dragon Quest Walk only earned 22% of GO’s total). In terms of the wider mobile-gaming landscape it’s only fifth, behind games like Candy Crush and Honor of Kings.

The success (and early decline) of Pokemon GO is down to one thing - content. Content is what let it down initially after that first (albeit huge) wave of interest in 2016, and content is what brought it back in the years since. Naturally, Niantic are kicking off 2020 in style with… more content!

First of all, more Pokemon from the Unova region (the setting for Pokemon Black & White) are being included:

  • Pokémon appearing in the wild: Roggenrola, Tympole, Dwebble, Trubbish, Karrablast, Joltik, Shelmet, and more.
  • Pokémon hatching from Eggs:
    • 2 km Eggs: Venipede and Dwebble
    • 5 km Eggs: Roggenrola, Tympole, Trubbish, Karrablast, Joltik, and Shelmet
    • 10 km Eggs: Timburr, Tirtouga, Archen, and Axew
  • Pokémon appearing in raids: Timburr will also be available in one-star raids.
  • Pokémon appearing in the wild in certain parts of the world:
    • North America, South America, and Africa: Throh (also available in 10 km Eggs)
    • Europe, Asia, and Australia: Sawk (also available in 10 km Eggs)
    • Southern United States, Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, and South America: Maractus
    • Egypt and Greece: Sigilyph
    • Eastern hemisphere: Red-Striped Form Basculin
    • Western hemisphere: Blue-Striped Form Basculin

 Along with new Pokemon, ‘Trade Evolutions’ are now also a thing within the game. You may remember this mechanic from the mainline Pokemon games, where some Pokemon (sometimes holding a specific item in later releases) would evolve when you traded them with other players or NPCs.

In Pokemon GO this translates as a Candy-cost reduction to evolve them, potentially even making it free to evolve certain Pokemon. A bunch of the new Unova additions will have this mechanic, but it’s also been retro-actively applied to some of the existing roster as well.

Are you still playing Pokemon Go or have gotten back into it recently? Have you spent money on the game? Let us know in the comments!

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