‘Pokemon Go’ Most Successful Mobile Game Despite 79% Drop in Player Base

The wildly popular Pokemon Go mobile application, which is based on a 1990s Nintendo game, has created a global frenzy as players roam the real world looking for cartoon monsters

Despite losing 79% of its paying customers, Pokemon Go is still far and away the most successful mobile app on the market.

According to Slice Intelligence e-receipt tracking across all devices, the popular monster catcher simulation still accounts for about 28% of mobile app revenue during August, despite player activity having dropped off the sort of cliff that can only be created by such explosive popular success.

It’s still unclear whether Pokemon Go will retain a profitable long-term player base, or whether it was just a clever 90s style resurrection couched in a cute augmented reality gimmick. Consumers have been less than impressed by Niantic’s management of the product during the crucial launch period, closing many potential wallets as quickly as they’d sprung open.

Titles like King’s Candy Crush Saga and Zynga’s Farmville spent their own time in the public eye, then settled into smaller — but still quite profitable — revenue norms for long afterward. There’s a certain chemistry to the cocktail of timers, repetition, and almost-but-not-quite fun gameplay that keeps even the best of us compulsively returning to our preferred freemium addiction for months or years after the initial spark has faded.

According to Slice, a significant number of Pokemon GO‘s customers were new ones, a “whale” hunt that would have instantly turned Moby Dick from white to green with envy. And while no mobile title has ever come close to its market penetration, it remains to be seen whether that injection of new money was a brief dip into nostalgia, or the sign of a massive as-yet untapped market waiting for more content.

Are we done catching ’em all, or just waiting on those contact lenses before this madness starts again? Niantic may find out the hard way, and other companies are doing experiments of their own. Regardless, it’s just not the sort of potential payday that you can just ignore.

Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.


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