The success of Pokemon Go is somewhat of a startling thing to behold. The game has managed to break a major mobile app record within 60 days of its release, making it not only one of the most popular gaming apps around but also one of the most popular apps around of any kind, and it managed to surpass the half-billion dollar mark in record time.
According to App Annie, Pokemon Go has managed to surpass $500 million in revenue within just 60 days. The game has managed to hit the $500 million mark three times faster than other rival apps that also managed to hit $500 million within their lifetime on the market, this includes Clash of Clans, Puzzles & Dragons, and Candy Crush Saga.
In fact, it took King's match-3 game over 200 days to hit $500 million across the Google Play and iTunes App Store. It took the other two games more than 400 days to make $500 million, which shows that Pokemon Go is not only popular but retains enough user engagement that it's actually translating into a lot of user spending.
Free-to-play games usually run the risk of having to rely solely on customers known as "whales", who spend up to several thousand dollars within a short time span to keep the product afloat. In this case, it sounds like Pokemon Go is tapping revenue streams from the actual casual market, the mid-core market and the whales alike, which is quite rare for an app, especially a video game app.
According to App Annie, Pokemon Go is currently on target to hit $1 billion before 2016 ends. I was skeptical about those figures at first because some reports indicated that the game has had a major drop-off in user engagement. However, some people are speculating that the drop-off in user engagement relates to the broken tracking mechanic, which drastically affects the game's usability, but if the tracking gets fixed then they might go back to retaining users the way they did when Pokemon Go first launched.
One thing that has stayed consistent across App Annie's report and previous reports was that the game is not adversely affecting the performance of other apps. There were worries -- from major app makers, no less -- that Pokemon Go's success would start eating into app usage from other companies and that it could start cannibalizing both daily active time usage and revenue from other competing apps outside of the games market. The data shows that Niantic Labs' Pokemon-based app is not quite that powerful.
The data does show, however, that despite some drop-off in usage, the game still has a higher user retention rate compared to direct rivals like Clash of Clans and Candy Crush Saga. The only game on the list with a higher user retention rating over the course of 30 days is Words With Friends from Zynga.
Pokemon Go hasn't been on the market long enough to determine how long a fad it will be, but the drop-off shows that it's not a sustainable phenomenon despite being a financially lucrative app. We'll see just how much of a user base they can retain after the game launches in more territories, and more features begin to roll out before 2016 ends.