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Pokémon Go Figure – A data analysis of the most popular game of all time

Pokémon Go Figure – A data analysis of the most popular game of all time

1600 900 Joel Windels

Following its anticipated launch on July 6 last year, Pokémon Go quickly became the most downloaded game of all time, reaching 15 million global downloads in just one week. By August, the app had reached 100 million devices.

In time, players had managed to catch all of the 140+ Pokémon available in the Pokémon Go game. It was no surprise then, that eight months later 80 new Pokémon from Generation 2 of the Pokédex were released into the game, ready to be caught by the dwindling player base.

Pokémon Go: a sustainable success?

Despite dozens of updates and new features added to the game since its launch in July 2016, none of them have successfully managed to convince players to log back in a significant way.

New data from Wandera’s network of managed devices reveals the first serious spike in usage at the tail end of last week, peaking at 11.8m daily active users on the 16th of February. This, of course, coincides with the release of the new Pokémon, though just two days later the number of daily logins had again begun to fall, settling back to 9.5m a week after the launch.

Fewer players, more engaged.

Another place to look for the sustainability of the game’s popularity is how heavily the app is being used each day. The following chart shows the total volume of mobile data used to upload and download via the game’s servers.

Here we start to see a different story. Firstly, the drop off is more dramatic. Extremely heavy usage in July is followed by a more consistent daily usage of 30TB a day. This is a figure that remains largely unchanged until 2017, with two exceptions.

The September 10 launch of a ‘buddy’ that walks alongside you managed to inspire a minor increase data consumption on the game. This is likely the result of players going out for lengthy walks to maximize the benefits of the new feature.

This excitement didn’t last too long, however, and by October usage patterns had returned to pre-buddy levels. In November, the game’s developer Niantic made another significant update to Pokémon Go, this time introducing new bonuses for consecutive activities in the game, such as daily catches. While this did not attract any new players (or former players) to the game as evidenced in the first graph, it did manage to get the game’s core fanbase to use the game more heavily on average. Once again, by December this reinjection of excitement had died down.

The most striking thing about this data is the amazing impact of the recent February 2017 Pokémon Go Generation 2 launch of 80 new Pokémon. On February 16th, data use had more than tripled overnight, as players re-opened the app and wandered the street hunting for the new Pokémon. Despite reaching a single-day spike in usage, surpassing even July’s high-point of 150TB in one day. Early signs are that this surge is unlikely to be as long-lasting as the initial launch.

Popular among Pokémaniacs

There’s one final way of dissecting this data. That is to analyze how much data is being consumed on the game per device. This gives the best indication of how much each player is enjoying the game or at least being absorbed by it.

This data suggests that the new release has got players using the app more than ever, as the challenge of catching a whole new cohort of monsters proves too alluring for the players that stuck around. The alternative interpretation, of course, is that the new updates eat up data far more rapidly than before, though we’re sceptical of that conclusion.

So what can we conclude?

Well, the latest release has been the best (and only) update to inspire a meaningful increase in daily users so far. Having said that, the increase is relatively minor and still dwarfed by those heady days of July last year when the world went Pokécrazy and businesses were suffering productivity loss.

More interestingly, the release has been dramatically successful in getting players playing the game again – which is presumably something Niantic will be celebrating as they continue to milk their cash cow.

Pokemon go

About Wandera and this research

Wandera is a mobile data security company, which provide organizations with better ways to manage their corporate mobile devices. This includes protecting devices from attacks and detecting and blocking dangerous vulnerabilities, as well as offering a way for businesses to get visibility and control of their enterprise mobile data usage.

This research was based on data gathered from hundreds of thousands of devices across the globe. Data was then sampled, using researched published from SurveyMonkey to extrapolate the findings. This process is by no means perfect and would imply a degree of variance in the figures published here.

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