‘Pokémon GO’ Continues To Slide Down App Store Charts
What goes up must come down, but certainly not this quickly. Pokémon GO, which for a time was making considerably more than the entirety of the rest of the mobile economy, is currently sitting at #9 on the App Store’s “top grossing” chart on iOS, just below the perennially popular Candy Crush Saga.
Hard to believe that it was only a few short months ago that the world seemed to lose its collective mind over finding virtual creatures out in the real world, walking into traffic with heads down into phones and stampeding through streets for a shot at a Vaporeon. Matching candies may not be quite as exciting, but it would appear to be more reliable.
It’s important to remember that this is still, by any development standards, a wild success. Pokémon GO, even at #9, is making a huge amount of money, and it’s not like it didn’t make all that money before, either. #9 is a major achievement for any developer. Pokémon GO is a massive success from most every angle, and it’s certainly changed the way developers and publishers the world over treat mobile gaming. It’s not like this thing goes down in the history books as a failure just because it couldn’t maintain interest.
But that’s only when we compare it to other games out there. On an intuitive level, it’s not hard to see what’s happened here. Pokémon GO could well have stayed at the top of the app chart for much longer, but its shortcomings just proved too much for the vast majority of the player base. As more and more people reached an endgame without too much to do, more and more people just stopped playing. It was all only compounded by the fact that the app was so poorly monetized in the first place: fewer people playing, less of them paying.
In the meantime, Niantic continues to play a sort of misguided defense: shutting down third-party trackers, blocking rooted phones and eliminating Pokémon spawns at driving speeds, all of which continue to make things much harder for players outside of a few major cities. There have been updates that have added some important changes, but they’ve all been pretty small, and much-asked for features like a new tracker or multiplayer battles remain elusive. And so many players see more and more impediments to play with fewer and fewer new reasons to return. It’s not a good mix.
We’re not lost yet, though Niantic and the Pokémon Company may have to wait until next spring to get a genuine shot at this again. I expect something big for Pokémon Sun and Moon, but at this point, the game looks like it’s still not in a great place in which to accept and retain a big new influx of players. Expect it to keep dropping unless something major changes.