Pokemon GO was released in July 2016 and is being billed as the most successful launch of a mobile game by SuperData Research. The game is an augmented reality treasure hunt whereby the player must travel around a real world map to find Pokemon monsters. Once the player is closer to the monster, the smartphone screen switches to show the view through the camera complete with the Pokemon critter. This then needs to be caught by throwing Pokemon balls at the monster. Caught monsters can be used to fight other players in battles. Niantic, Pokemon GO's developer, have also included PokeStops and Pokemon Gyms for topping up on monster capturing equipment and training or fighting your monsters. Since release, we've seen sales of portable battery chargers soar as players drain their battery playing Pokemon GO and as the title revolves around walking around a real world map, players are usually some distance from a conventional mains power socket!
However, Pokemon GO has had a wider influence on the gaming industry. For Nintendo, the Pokemon GO release on the Android and iPhone platforms has boosted the sales of older Pokemon games on the Nintendo 3DS handheld gaming console. The 3DS is an older portable console, considered underpowered in the context of today's technology, but it benefits from Nintendo's robust sturdy design and a decent library of games. The Nintendo 3DS is near the end of its life but SuperData have reported sales are up by 50% from this time last year. Combined sales of Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire, Pokemon X and Y, have doubled over the same period. SuperData are "optimistic that mobile spin-offs for Fire Emblem and Animal Crossing will have a positive impact on Nintendo's ecosystem." In other words, Pokemon GO has helped the entire Nintendo stable.
As it happens, Pokemon GO's influence has reached far beyond the Nintendo gaming platform but has also helped support the entire industry. July's digital game sales were up 10% from July 2015 to $5.9 billion, but the mobile gaming category was showing a 16% increase. Within the industry, social games and massively multiplayer online games declined: some industry pundits believe this is because players are venturing out into the real world. As for mobile games, Pokemon GO was the most successful, surpassing Monster Strike. Mobile Strike was the third most popular game, followed by Clash of Clans and Clash Royale. Will this success continue? We have already seen that some in the industry believe that the Pokemon GO fad is passing, which may or may not be the case.