1 year and $1 billion later, Pokémon Go is trying to stay relevant for hardcore players

Around this time last year, thousands of people were causing stampedes in major cities around the world while playing Pokémon Go, the hit game by Niantic Labs.

While the crowds are mostly gone one year later, Pokémon Go has been nothing short of a global phenomenon. It’s amassed over $US1 billion in revenue faster than any mobile game and boasts around 65 million monthly users.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and others have also heralded Pokémon Go as the first successful use case for augmented reality, the nascent tech that overlays virtual objects onto the real world.

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, Niantic is running an in-game promotion until July 24 that lets players catch a limited-edition Pikachu and buy a special bundle of items in the virtual shop.

Pokémon Go by the numbers:

  • Pokémon Go has brought in $US1.25 billion in worldwide revenue from in-app purchases, according to analytics firm App Annie.
  • While user growth has steadily declined since its release one year ago, the game had about 60 million monthly users in June, according to Apptopia. Same spikes in growth have correlated to temporary promotions that release more kinds of specific Pokémon into the world.

What’s next:

  • Now that initial hype has passed, Niantic has started focusing its efforts on improving the game for its most loyal players. A new gym system was recently introduced alongside cooperative raid battles, and Niantic CEO John Hanke recently told The Verge that trading and player-versus-player combat is coming.
  • Multiple real-world events put on by Niantic are expected to draw tens of thousands of people this summer. This first ticketed event in Chicago later this month is expected to draw around 20,000 players, while an event in Japan later this summer is expected to draw several hundred thousand.