Pokemon Go has achieved a remarkable landmark milestone: since it launched in July 2016, the app has been downloaded one billion times.
It’s hardly surprising. I was working as a freelancer when Pokemon Go emerged into the world in July 2016. At the time, it was a cultural phenomenon, and for a while it felt like you couldn’t go anywhere without seeing crowds of Pokemon Go players wandering the streets. Shoreditch was even more of a nightmare than usual.
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The news emerged on the Japanese language YouTube channel for Pokemon Go, and it was translated by Serebii.net. The game hit 500 million downloads within the first two months after launch, so the second 500 million downloads have been somewhat slower, but have shown the somewhat enduring popularity of the game. Still, data from analysts Sensor Tower have suggested that the game has made a whopping $2.6bn over the past three years.
While that dollar figure is exactly what it says on the tin, the 1bn downloads might actually be a little misleading: that doesn’t mean there are that many active players. It just means that it has been downloaded that many times. This means that people who have owned multiple phones since 2016, or even players that have deleted the app and left the real-world Safari Zone behind but have then been tempted in, no doubt by one of the many updates to Pokemon Go that have come since launch.
After all, the game has added a bunch since it’s original launch date, chucking in raids, trading, and even Team Rocket to the mix. There are also several events around the globe, that bring Pokemon fans together to catch rare pocket monsters.
Niantic will likely be hoping Harry Potter: Wizards Unite can achieve similar success, when it’s not accidentally sending eager players to pole dancing clubs.