I thought I would be remiss if I didn’t remind Pokémon GO players that this is the last day of the second half of the game’s big holiday event, one that actually turned out to be its best limited-time offering to date, and its most profitable to boot.
After today, unless Niantic decides to unleash an 11th hour emergency extension, players will no longer be able to find loads of Charmanders, Squirtles, Bulbasaurs and their evolutions in the wild, and Lures will go back to being 30 instead of 60 minutes. The other part of the event, where everyone gets a single-use incubator every day and have a better chance of hatching Gen 2 babies, has been over for about a week, but those eggs you picked up back then might only just be hatching now. I actually just got my first Togepi yesterday.
So far, Pokémon GO has had Halloween, Thanksgiving and now this Christmas/Hanukah/New Year’s event, and I have to say, this one has been my favorite so far. Why?
Even though the event didn’t come with any bonuses like double XP or double candy like the others, this last half, hunting down swarms of starter Pokémon, has probably been my favorite activity in the game so far. If you’re like me, and a player of the original games, you probably have some attachment to the three starters and their evolutions, and Pokémon GO has been kind of frustrating in that regard. Before the buddy system it was almost impossible to get enough starter candy to evolve any starters, unless you lived on a nest, I would assume most casual players went into this event without having a Charizard, Venusaur or Blastoise. Now, if you even played a little bit during this event, you should be well on your way to one of each, or you can finally evolve all three.
This event really worked well with the new tracking system, as it was finally possible to see where these specific starters were spawning, and go to that PokeStop directly for them to spawn, something that hasn’t been possible or necessary in events before this. In that sense, there was a true “hunting” component to this event, and it feels satisfying if you managed to get enough candy to evolve 1-3 of these starters by the end. I know I feel pretty happy about it.
But this event was significant for another reason as well. According to mobile analyst firm Sensor Tower, the holiday event has brought the game up a revenue level not seen since summer. More so than the other special events so far.
December 31st was the best single day revenue the game has seen since July 18 with $4.9M spent. And the week of December 26th was the highest since mid-July with $22.1M spent, which was about 25% higher than the Halloween event.
And this may be a topic for another day, but Pokémon GO has been destroying the numbers put up by Super Mario Run, an app which got more downloads more quickly, but hit a hard cap on revenue right away. Loads downloaded it, but only a fraction paid $10 for the full game, and there’s no way for players to ever spend more than that $10, while a game like GO can continue to rake in cash during special events like these. Nintendo, meanwhile, says they have no plans to add more content to Super Mario Run, paid or otherwise.
It’s hard to understand just how successful this event has been, both from being satisfying from a player perspective, but also being a killer revenue driver. That is extremely impressive for a six month old game that everyone believed to be a flash-in-the-pan fad, but has proven that it’s anything but. No, it will probably never exceed its July records, but it doesn’t need to. Performing this well now is still a monumental achievement, and we still haven’t even seen any truly major events like the release of Legendaries or Gen 2.
So, get out there and catch those last few starters, because there’s no indication this exact type of event will repeat itself any time soon. If you’ll excuse me, there are three very important Pokémon I need to see about evolving.
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