Gaming analysis firm SuperData is touting a new report for marketers today, shedding some light on the shape of the industry so far in 2017 — for everyone. Yep, today’s report is free, as long as you’re willing to hand over a mailing address, so let’s run down the highlights:
- 46% of US gamers are now women.
- 665 million people glue their eyeballs to gaming videos and streams — more than HBO, Netflix, ESPN, and Hulu combined.
- “The global market for games and interactive media will grow 12% this year,” for the first time crossing the $100B threshold.
- A streadily increasing percentage of that dough is coming from digital console revenue.
- By 2020, SuperData argues, “players will spend $4.5B on immersive gaming — more than 20 times what they do today.”
- “Rocket League shows that console gamers are willing to spend on optional cosmetic items in multiplayer games.” Stop buying lockboxes, people.
By chance, we had a bunch of easily combinable mobile MMO news stories waiting to be written this morning, so let’s get to them — here in the comfort of our MMOs you’ve never heard of series!
We’ll begin, however, with a mobile MMOARG you’ve definitely heard of: Pokemon Go. Players of the game that cannot be killed are going ballistic over what appears to be a curfew on raid battles, which seems to limit raids to daylight hours. East coast players are particularly annoyed because the stealth-curfew meant they lost of a day of play — and a large chunk of the small sliver of time a particular legendary, Moltres, is available for capture.
If you live in the midwest and are out only a ticket and a tank of gas for your trip to the botched Pokemon Go event a week and change ago, you were probably mollified by Niantic’s vow to reimburse your ticket fee and grant you some free in-game currency. If you spent hundreds or even thousands of dollars to travel to the event from far away, however, $100 in Pokemon Go cash is not going to cut it. That’s the impetus behind a new class-action lawsuit being filed on behalf of “20 or 30” people who say that Niantic failed to keep its promises and should reimburse their travel.
“We’re not seeking any relief with respect to the failure to get legendary Pokémon, because Niantic is offering that,” the attorney representing the plaintiffs, Thomas Zimmerman, explained to Polygon. “But Niantic is not offering to refund people’s travel expenses for coming to Chicago. Most of the people came from out of state, many people from other countries — I talked to someone who flew in from Japan.”
Given just how much money Niantic made from RMT during a single day of the event, we figure the studio’s probably good to reimburse some overseas guests for travel, but in light of how hard the studio has fought to avoid legal culpability for its actions in the past, we doubt it’ll be that simple.
Pokemon Go’s weekend Fest event may have been a massive and predictable failure of communication and preparation, but it wasn’t a failure for Niantic’s piggy bank: SensorTower reports that the game pulled in almost six million bucks on Sunday alone as players logged in to catch special legendary pixel critters.
“According to our revenue data, players spent approximately $5.8 million worldwide in the game on Sunday, July 23, the day publisher Niantic flipped the virtual switch that unleashed two legendary creatures into the game world for players to team up and (attempt) to capture,” says the app-tracking firm.
That makes this past Sunday the biggest revenue day for the game since its Halloween event last year, in spite of the flopped Chicago event that saw Niantic’s CEO booed onstage. No bad deed goes unrewarded, right?
The fallout and analysis of the debacle that was last weekend’s Pokemon Go Fest continues, as Niantic has been pressed for answers on why such a widespread failure happened — and why it couldn’t have been anticipated.
Niantic CEO John Hanke penned an enormous blog post about the event’s missteps yesterday and pinpointed exactly what went wrong. “Technical issues with our game software caused client crashes and interfered with gameplay for some users,” he said. “A more protracted problem was caused by oversaturation of the mobile data networks of some network providers.”
Hanke said that the studio delivered estimates to its carrier partners but that the overload happened anyway. Even with the frustrations, over the course of the weekend Chicago event players captured more than 7.7 million Pokémon, including more than 440,000 legendary Pokémon.
Our take? This was Niantic being Niantic, and that needs to change ASAP.
Over the weekend, we reported on the distastrous Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago, where thousands of paying ticket holders spent most of the day waiting in line and dealing with connection issues and bugs that made the game they were there to celebrate virtually unplayable. Massively OP’s Andrew Ross did a piece for us yesterday outlining everything that went wrong and how frustrating it is for Niantic’s fans to watch it make mistake after mistake. Well, the silver lining is that Niantic is stepping up to take full responsibility and attempting to make amends.
“Obviously they can’t completely make it up to all the people who have come out to Chicago today, but they want to extend the fact that they’re extremely apologetic and unhappy with the process and the results,” a Niantic spokesperson reportedly told press. “So hopefully this is something that we will never see replicated again, learn from this and move on. […] Just know that the staff here are pretty horrified with the results, so they want to make good as fast as possible. I’m super sorry guys — I’m really sorry especially for everyone who traveled international, East Coast, from all over. So this clearly was not what we were hoping for today. Thanks for your patience.”
SuperData’s global digital games revenue summary for June 2017 is out, and it’s a strange melange of huge shifts and no changes at all.
On the PC front, there’s been movement at the bottom of the list, as PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds and ROBLOX (seriously) have kicked CSGO and New Westward Journey Online II to the curb and knocked World of Tanks and Overwatch down a few pegs. World of Warcraft remains at #6, thanks to last month’s recombination of east and west. It’s a weird saga.
On consoles, however, Overwatch inched up a place and Grand Theft Auto V surged to take the top spot, in spite of its messy modder confrontations this summer. “Despite negative press over community-created-mods decisions, Grand Theft Auto Online experienced its most successful month this June on the back of [its] newest DLC,” SuperData says.
The mobile category has seen a huge shakeup as well, as Honour of Kings leaped from 10th place to 1st, pushing down Clash of Clans and Clash Royale — the firm estimates Honour of Kings made over $150 million in June. Pokemon Go remains noticeably absent from the top 10 lists this summer, but SuperData gives it a nod anyway.
I know I complain a lot about Pokemon Go in my articles here, but there’s a reason for this. I’m a huge fan not just of the Pokemon series but of what Niantic is trying to do with its game on a basic level. The idea of getting games outside with the rest of the world instead of hidden in our rooms and offices is hugely appealing. I’ve even applied to work at Niantic before (though obviously I wasn’t selected), so for me especially it’s frustrating to see a company I want to succeed repeatedly making the same kinds of mistakes. These are mistakes that plagued the game’s launch, several events, feature reworkings, and now not one, but two birthday celebrations within the same year.
I actually got sucked into the hype recently and even said that the events surrounding the festival might give people a reason to come back. I’ve finally removed my foot from my mouth after previously downing some crow, but I’ve realized that, now more than ever, Niantic needs some tougher love, and here it is.
If you’ve ever been to a massive gathering of tech-savvy people — like say, a gaming convention — you know better than to rely on the internet for sending emails or tweeting consistently, let alone for gaming itself. That’s just one of the lessons being learned by Niantic and the thousands of people who paid for tickets to Pokemon Go Fest in Chicago this weekend.
Multiple outlets are reporting that not only can many people inside the park not connect to play, but there have been huge lines outside the park as people still wait to get in. When Niantic CEO John Hanke took the stage to calm everyone, he was subsequently booed and heckled while issuing apologies. Ouch.
Popular fansite The Silph Road reports that Niantic is offering refunds and chunks of currency, but that won’t help all people who flew in from out of state — or out of country — for an event that’s gone south.
Back in February, Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, tried to prevent Pokemon Go player-inflicted park damage by requiring ARG developers, including Niantic, to acquire permits before implementing games within the park. The county was subsequently sued by Texas Rope’ Em dev Candy Lab AR this past spring, and now, a judge has granted an injunction blocking enforcement of the ordinance until after the lawsuit’s been resolved, noting not only that it’s unconstitutional but nearly impossible to execute.
In happier POGO news, Legendary Pokemon are coming to Pokemon Go. Unlike other Pokemon, Legendaries cannot be put into gyms to defend, but they should make raids a little bit easier. Trainers at the Chicago event will have a set of challenges to meet, but players not attending also need to help out. PokemonGO Hub has a great chart for finding out when the events begin if you need a little guidance. On the way to legendaries, players can unlock bonuses to just about everything, from Star Dust to increased spawns.
If you’re looking for something to do this summer and you live in a big city, Pokemon Go — or at least gawking at Pokemon Go die-hards — should be on your agenda. This week Niantic released a length overview of some of the global events it has planned in Copenhagen, Prague, Stockholm, Amstelveen, Oberhausen, Paris, Barcelona, Yokohama, and of course, Chicago, whose sold-out and heavily scalped Pokemon Go Fest is now just a week away. But even if you can’t attend in person, there’s something in it for you:
“During the day, there will be three Challenge Windows in which Trainers everywhere will work alongside those in Chicago to unlock global rewards. During the Challenge Windows, Trainers in Grant Park will attempt to unlock perks for Pokémon GO players around the world by catching certain types of Pokémon. Each Pokémon- type will be tied to a different perk, so Trainers at the park will need to carefully choose which Pokémon they catch. […] Meanwhile, Trainers outside of Chicago will attempt to catch as many Pokémon as possible during the Challenge Windows to extend the duration of the bonuses unlocked by those attending the event. If Trainers around the world catch enough Pokémon, a mystery challenge will be unveiled in Grant Park that, once completed, will unlock an extra-special bonus across the globe.”
The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!
This week we have stories and videos from Pokemon Go, Splatoon 2, Blade and Soul, Dragon’s Dogma Online, Closers Online, Overwatch, Vindictus, Mu Online, Wurm Online, Astellia Online, Dofus Pets, Hellion, SMITE, StarCraft, Aion, Final Fantasy XI, and League of Legends, all waiting for you after the break!
It is genuinely hard to believe that it has been a year already since Pokémon Go took the world by storm (and dominated the headlines for a good portion of July 2016, too). Now that the game has simmered down somewhat and established itself, it can take a few moments to celebrate its birthday.
To mark the occasion, a special Pikachu is running around the place (perhaps in your neighborhood!) wearing Ash’s baseball cap. It makes us wonder what Pikachu did to Ash, but in the meanwhile, you’ll be able to acquire this limited-time pokemon until July 24th. To date, over 125 billion pokemon have been caught by players worldwide.
In an interview with The Verge, Niantic CEO John Hanke said that the game’s enormous success initially worked against its continued development: “We lost probably six months on our schedule because of the success of the game. Really all the way through November and December , from launch onward we were rebuilding and rewiring infrastructure just to keep the game running at the scale that we were running at.”
Check out our report card of the game’s first year if you haven’t read it already! Or heck, read it again even if you did!