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Pokémon GO’s Success at its One Year Anniversary Proves VR Works for the Masses

by Prabhat Agarwal | Jul 07, 2017

On July 6, 2016, Niantic Labs released Pokémon GO and within months it swiftly reached rock star status in the app ecosystem as one of the most download apps of all time. At its one year anniversary Pokémon GO’s popularity appears to have stabilized and reached equilibrium with the app exhibiting steady and robust use fueled by Niantic’s release of new and innovative gaming features (see figures below, which are based on AppOptix data consisting of an opt-in panel of approx. 4,000 mobile consumers annually).


After a period of plunging usage (Q3 to Q4 2016) and despite the deterioration in penetration level, the stats for monthly engagement levels and sessions for active users (those using the app in the month) over the past three quarters are impressive. For example, in Q2 2017, monthly minutes among active users averaged over 8 hours/month or over 2 hours/week. Going forward, these stats may be challenging to maintain and time will tell if Niantic can sustain the innovation necessary to keep users engaged.

However, stepping back and looking at the “big picture”, the winner is virtual reality (VR) technology (Pokémon GO’s key differentiator). From this effort, VR has successfully consummated its first expansive consumer trial and proves that despite early stage usage drop-offs; this technology can appeal to consumers. App developers should take notice of Pokémon GO’s staying power and applaud their accomplishment in commercializing VR for the masses and further, utilize the stated metrics as competitive benchmarks for tracking its own apps.

 

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