Apple could make more money from Pokemon Go than Nintendo

Now that it’s clear that Pokemon Go is a bit of a phenomenon, the question is which tech companies stand to win or lose from the millions of people running around cities catching cartoons.

Although Pokemon Go is free to play, like most mobile games, it offers in-app purchases, which have already started to rake in money.

Some early revenue estimates:

  • $1.6 million per day on iOS, on 2 million iOS downloads, according to estimates from app store optimization firm Sensor Tower
  • $14 million by Monday, working out to $2.3 million per day on iOS and Android combined, according to analysis from Superdata.
  • “Well over $1 million of net revenue” daily, according to app analytics firm App Annie, with a potential run rate of “$1 billion per year.”

That money gets split among several interested parties, including Niantic, the publisher of the app, and Apple or Google, which take a 30% cut of in-app purchases as owners of their app respective stores.

Here’s how David Gibson at Macquarie Research thinks the pie is split (emphasis ours):

The title was jointly developed by Niantic, Pokemon Company and Nintendo. It is unclear exactly what their economic interest is in the game, but we presume that out of every 100 units earned at the app store, 30 would go to Apple, 30 to Niantic, 30 to Pokemon and 10 to Nintendo.

So it’s certainly possible, depending on the percentage of Pokemon Go players playing on iPhones, that Apple could make more money from this craze than Nintendo will, although Nintendo also owns a stake in the Pokemon Company.

Of course, the majority of Pokemon Go players, according to early estimates, are playing on Android, but it’s a free game, and it’s well established that iPhone users are far more willing to spend on in-app purchases.

Plus, a fun, addictive game on Apple’s platform can only help drive iPhone sales.

However, Google is also poised to not only profit from its Play Store app store platform, but also from its stake in Niantic, the game’s publisher. Before Niantic spun off into an independent company, it was part of Google, and Google recently invested in the gaming company .

Mark Bergen at Recode writes:

Google could make some money too. It pitched in on Niantic’s $30 million round after the spinoff. It’s not clear if that investment includes a stake in the earnings from Pokémon, which, if early days are indicators, look lucrative.

Even Nintendo could come out ahead, even if it ends up only taking a 10% cut of Pokemon Go revenue.

Mostly based on market perception of Nintendo’s potential if it ever fully embraces mobile gaming, Nintendo shares have spiked 35% since the phenomenon was released in the United States.

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