Player spending on Niantic’s wildly popular mobile game “Pokemon GO” increased 70% from March 9 through March 16, according to a report from GoldenCasinoNews.
“Pokemon GO” players spent roughly $23 million on the game March 9-16, GoldenCasinoNews and Statista reported.
“With millions of people spending more time playing mobile games amid coronavirus lockdown, the Pokémon GO weekly player spending increased by almost $10 million between March 9th and March 16th,” report author Jastra Ilic wrote Tuesday.
California was the first state to lockdown on March 20, with residents only allowed to leave their homes for essential matters: food, medical prescriptions, etc.
“Statistics also revealed that the most significant part of that amount, or $7.8 million, was generated in the United States,” Ilic noted.
In the first week of February, players spent a collective $17 million in-game. “Pokemon GO” ranks sixth of eight top free-to-play games ranked by revenue in 2019; it generated $1.8 billion in revenue last year. The game still is outranked by titles that include Epic Games’ free-to-play battle royale shooter “Fortnite,” Riot Games’ “League of Legends,” and King’s “Candy Crush Saga.”
Niantic’s location-based Pokemon game is based on the idea that users will run around outside trying to “catch” Pokemon that show up in the world around them via augmented reality. With the coronavirus pandemic spreading across the globe, Niantic has tried to make the game easier to play from farther away.
“For catching we’ve tried to make sure players who had that reduced mobility still have a chance to find Pokemon, so we’ve made it so Pokemon are easier to find,” the game’s lead project manager told ESPN last week. “We don’t specifically put Pokemon in your house or anything like that, but Pokemon are easier to find in your immediate vicinity.”
Niantic has changed the “Pokemon GO” rules slightly to adapt to the pandemic, including doubling the distance players can interact with Pokemon “Gyms,” or multiplayer arenas where two trainers battle it out. The game developer also increased the amount of gifts players can send to friends and allowed players to battle in raids and receive field research tasks remotely without going to a Pokestop location. Players can buy “incense” to attract Pokemon to their location, and Niantic lowered its in-game price to make Pokemon catching a little bit easier.
“We noticed very quickly changes in player behavior and changes in government policy that we had to adapt to,” because of the coronavirus, Slemon said.