Pokémon GO: A year of the phenomenon that changed everything

First anniversary of the title that redefined the language of the saga, a milestone that may not be repeated and that broke all kinds of borders between culture, age and gender.

Last July 6, a year since the official launch of Pokemon GO, possibly the biggest phenomenon in the digital entertainment of the last decade due to its social repercussion and ability to catch all types of public regardless of age, sex or culture. And it is precisely that concept, “Do yourself with all,” which was redefined in the summer of 2016 so far, dragging a huge player base where more than 750 million downloads.

Today we want to review the first twelve months of existence of Pokemon GO as well as the factors that we can identify to its success, with data of interest, playable evolution and content, downloads or what has supposed for the saga in this period . So, let’s look back and return to that July 6, the day Australia and New Zealand saw the birth of the unexpected monster of Niantic and The Pokemon Company.

“On a personal level I did not expect GO Pokemon to become what it finally is. When we started to develop the title, I really expected a lot of people to play it, but as something more measured, where people simply enjoyed coming out and catching Pokemon. That’s where we wanted to focus. I just wanted to express that concept with the application, ” said Junichi Masuda, one of the top officials in The Pokemon Company. The agreement with Niantic did not come out of nowhere, but with the idea of ​​being able to make that idea called Ingress could adapt to the daily lives of thousands of people so that at any time, anytime and anywhere we could capture these creatures Taking advantage of geolocation and Augmented Reality: create a virtual world in which there were Pokemon around us … but only through the screens of our terminals iOS or Android.

The executed business model has been and remains one of the bases of its success: free to play. Nintendo itself has recently acknowledged with Tatsumi Kimishima at the head that having launched Super Mario Run (iOS / Android, 2016) at a price of $ 9.99, thus preventing the complete game to those tens of millions of users who tried the version Free, has been a barrier that has prevented the ultimate end of any digital product as it is to obtain the largest possible number of revenues. Super Mario Run has been a hit in downloads, but not economically; Pokemon GO has been a phenomenon in downloads, but also has established itself as a real machine to make

The microtransactions of the title oscillate between 1 dollar up to 99 dollars, amount ranging from the assumption if we are frequent players to the exorbitant, an option that very few contemplate but that end up marking the difference. As in almost any free to play, the real time comes into play testing our patience, and here the message was clear: if you want more Pokeball and do not want to wait, you have to go through the box.

First reactions on the stock market:Pokemon GO was not a joke

In just over 48 hours Nintendo went public with an increase of more than 10% compared to its value in recent weeks, meaning the highest value of the Japanese company in recent times. If the 23,000 yen per share of that moment seemed positive, few imagined that only a few weeks later they would end up opening at Nikkei above 31,000 yen, although that impact was eventually blurred by reality: Nintendo was not the main shareholder Of Pokemon GO, and the investors decided to recular when not seeing a potential revenue such elevated.

Not surprisingly, the number of downloads did not stop growing threatening the records of other phenomena such as Candy Crush or Clash Royale. Now, the months of July and August were not a path of roses, as the problems signed their own chapter based on falls in servers, high battery consumption, etc.

Problems of all kinds, a welcome visit

Not a couple of days had passed when we learned about the first problems reported by Asian and Oceania players, with battery consumption that prevented autonomies of more than three hours, high temperatures depending on what components of Android mobile phones … This prevented that the game premiered in the rest of the world in the estimated dates; In addition, the popularity of the title showed that the servers were not going to support such peak players when availability was “worldwide available”. So it was.

As of July 13, news and headlines with the word “record” began to be the daily bread. That if a record of active users, that if it was already the application that generated more income in any country of Europe … Nothing could stop it. But going inside the strictly playable, we find a title that was easily understandable by any type of users, and that is one of the keys that can not leave aside a title for smartphones for a fundamental reason: everyone has a smartphone . The question is clear then, has Pokemon GO evolved during these twelve months?

The evolution of Pokemon GO – Twelve months of experience

After more than 90,000 million catches so far, 1000 million dollars billed and more than 750 million downloads worldwide, there are still 65 million active players who start each month and continue to enjoy mechanics whose improvements They should have arrived much earlier. 5 million people now rely on the project every day, a fact that shows their excellent state of health but also highlights the huge mass of followers left on the road.

In March of this same year we were able to see an interesting ComScore report detailing the unique user level evolution experienced in the title until December 31, 2016, a declining player base of which 60% All were between 18 and 34 years old. But let’s stay with the data, in capital letters, that can boast the title: Pokemon GO came to have a peak of 28.5 million unique players daily only in the United States (July 13), which is when the title officially appeared in North America , Which added to the rest of the world became almost 45 million users daily, almost the entire population of Spain in comparison.

This digital epidemic has had many more successes than failures along the way, hitting with contractual agreements with companies recognized in the restaurant industry as Starbucks or McDonalds, causing their establishments and franchises to become Poképaradas, thus encouraging the visit to these places And the consequent consumption of its products. The content updates seemed almost finished in the summer insufficient, with users reaching the maximum level or completing the Pokédex to the maximum allowed in its territory. It was necessary to explain how and when to be able to capture the longed Legendary Pokemon, Shiny / Variocolor creatures, or if we could only do with species of the first generation (Kanto) until 2017, when effectively implemented more than 80 creatures of Johto , Known as second generation.

Little by little, probably at a slower rate than desired, Pokemon GO has been adding more and more features that, although they have not altered the playable base, do make the title a much more attractive app for the player; Its interface is more detailed, the identification of creatures is more simple and complete … The second generation was only the anticipation of what would come later, with the Incursions; Visual indicators for Poképaradas not visited; Gyms; More objects …

Impact on own brand: This has affected Pokemon

If we had to answer the question of why Pokemon GO has conquered so many people, especially when it comes to a license that was 20 years ago, it is precisely because it knows itself as a product that everyone recognizes. Pikachu is not only the electric mouse of Game Freak, it is a figure that automatically relates to video games, with its animation series or even with Japan as a whole. It is a pet, an international reference that has led to hundreds of products derived; But it is not the only Pokemon capable of catching people’s hearts. Nostalgia is therefore an inescapable factor to understand the phenomenon.

Those who slept under the age of ten at the time of the Game Boy were probably now parents and mothers, while those who were already living in adolescence now curiously rescued an undeniable bubble of memories. Charmander, Squirtle, Bulbasaur … Surely many downloaded the game, tried it and never heard from him again; Others used the app during the summer and, aware of a lack of progress and incentives to continue playing, erased as with any other; While there were others who continued to trust until the calendar warned players and Nintendo that the plan had gone well: Pokemon Sol and Luna, initiators of the seventh generation on Nintendo 3DS, were setting records of reserves, numbers and estimates Of sales only comparable to those of the editions Gold and Silver, the second most sold of all time.

GO Pokemon had dragged the name of the brand to everybody, promoting a substantial improvement in sales of Nintendo 3DS and increasing in interest to return to the main saga. Few would have signed only a few months before the seventh generation would sell at levels of the third (until July 2017), as historical records make clear that the impact of Pokemon was getting smaller every year. The snowball effect, unstoppable in the West, invites us to think that we will have Pokemon for at least ten more years, because right now betting otherwise seems completely inappropriate. At this point only a year ago was sold on eBay a product of the saga every 12 seconds.

And this is how we arrived at the current time, with the promise of having in a few months Legendary Pokemon at our disposal and with Raids at the foot of the street. Meet & Greet are back and official events are not going to be missing from now to September.

A social phenomenon: The true merit that is not seen

The greatest merit of Pokemon GO is not so much the discharges or the millions of dollars accumulated as the message it left in society, that abstract metagame that is there and perhaps not appreciated as it should. When we read in newspapers of national circulation that the Puerta del Sol of Madrid had gathered several thousands of people to capture Pokemon under 34 degrees of temperature in the middle of August we were left with the dizzy figures that also were dated in our country, but perhaps the really Important is to stay with the facility that has had this application to mobilize so many people and eliminate any ideological barrier, color or culture.

Just a year ago it was impossible not to see people with their mobile phone playing the title; Some with more shame than others for what they will say, some older than others and others simply worried about not letting go of that creature they had been trying for days. It was impossible not to see people walking without paying attention to the front, but it was palpable that the population had left the labels at least for a day at home. We no longer came across a stereotype of person, no matter the color: there were only coaches and coaches.

There was always a smile at that cross of looks; That of the child holding his mother’s phone when crossing the street or that of the grandparents trying to understand why on that 5-inch screen a blue turtle was hiding in motion. Perhaps that is the greatest merit of Pokemon GO, have been able to make it understood to a whole population that there is a universal language able to cross borders and forget everything else.

The Pokemon language, more or less used but never planned; It was only there, evolving for 20 years, until one day everyone decided to speak it at the same time.

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