Mario arrives as Pokemon Go peaks, with declining downloads, falling revenue

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The phenomenal mobile hit Pokémon Go has peaked, just as the anticipated Nintendo title Super Mario Run hits the App Store, vying for mobile users’ attention and the chance to best Pokémon’s record-breaking numbers. According to new data from App Annie, Pokémon Go has seen declines in both downloads and revenue over the past several months, though it’s still highly ranked because of the massive size of its active user base.

Pokémon Go’s U.S. downloads fell from over 80 million in July 2016 to 1.5 million in November, the firm found in a new analysis of Pokémon Go data. The figures indicate the app is nearing market saturation, as November accounted for only 5 percent of all U.S. downloads for the game since its U.S. debut. (Or, in other words, most of the people who want to play the game, already have it installed.)

Despite the drop, the game was decently ranked at #16 in the U.S. in November, in a ranking of all iOS and Google Play Games downloads combined. For comparison’s sake, however, it was #1 in July.

More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that Pokémon Go’s active users are declining, which, in turn has affected how much revenue the game is pulling in.

Though it still has a sizable audience with 23 million mobile active users in the U.S., that’s down by a little less than a third from July to November. In July, the game saw 66 million monthly actives playing, said App Annie.

When the game launched, U.S. users were spending an hour each day in the game, and now that’s down to 45 minutes per day.

In addition, Pokémon Go has seen its U.S. revenue drop from $125 million in July down to over $15 million in November. This saw it fall from #1 on the combined iOS and Android Games revenue chart to #6 during the same time frame.

The game has tried to juice its declining numbers through special events, like the one it held during Halloween which helped it bring in more revenue than the week prior. App Annie found that the week boosted U.S. revenue by 170% over the previous week, thanks to this event.

It also tried to get players to return with daily bonuses introduced last month. But neither of these initiatives were enough to bring Pokémon Go back to its earlier record numbers.

Of course, earnings and engagement like what Pokémon Go continues to see are something other mobile developers would kill to have. And U.S.-only stats only tell part of the story. But these new figures can help to illustrate where this massive mobile hit may end up leveling off, now that all the hype is winding down. (Expect the Mario hype to take over going forward!)

Pokémon maker Niantic Labs has prepared for the game’s slowing traction, though, and has been moving to monetize the app through other means. This includes the sponsorship deals with businesses like McDonald’s in Japan, Sprint, and most recently, Starbucks. 

“It’s not surprising to see Pokemon Go’s performance peaked after it’s exceptional, record-breaking launch,” notes App Annie SVP of Research, Danielle Levitas. “The heart of the story, however, is that the game’s 23 million monthly active users [U.S.] in November was more than 50% greater than the #2 most popular game,” she adds.

If that’s what Pokémon Go’s peak looks like, it’s not a bad place to be.

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