pokemon go

Official Site: Pokemon Go
Studio: Niantic
Launch Date: July 6, 2016
Genre: MMOARG
Business Model: F2P (Cash Shop)
Platform: Android, iOS

Pokemon Go’s first anniversary report card

July 6th, 2017, marks Pokemon Go’s first year anniversary. Love it or hate it, it’s a game that quickly made a global impact. It’s been released in at least 129 countries since January 2017, while MMO heavyweight World of Warcraft doesn’t even have Middle Eastern servers, let alone any located in Africa. Niantic has kind of waffled back and forth with its labeling of the game as an MMO, but the comparison is clear. While PoGo is more of a local multiplayer game, Massively OP staff have noted that local, non-digital games are also quite popular in MMO gamer circles. It may not be a true MMO, but Pokemon Go as a Massively Local Multiplayer Game feels like a logical evolution of our genre. ARPGs are one thing when they’re solo, but trying to build a game that puts a literal global audience on the same map feels significant.

It’s not a simple evolution, though. The genre itself is already being attacked in the courts. It has led to players being mugged, shot, and even killed, a situation we’ve seen in MMOs before. Luckily, we’ve yet to see trainer vs. trainer real-world violence. As many of you probably experienced, part of that may be due to the 80% reduction in playerbase before today’s first anniversary, though the game continues to make money.

Let’s review what the game’s changed since it’s release last year.

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Pokemon Go has pulled in $1.2B in revenue

Pokemon Go officially has all the money: According to app research group Apptopia, the game has now raked in $1.2 billion dollars in revenue with 752 million downloads. Seems like great news, right?

Well, yes and no. $950 million of that was accrued in 2016, so the app isn’t quite what it used to be, even if it’s still doing well. Logins have fallen from their peak of 100 million monthly down to 60 million monthly since last summer too, though again, I doubt most developers would turn down an active playerbase of 60 million bodies.

You’ll also recall that Pokemon Go slipped out of the top 10 mobile revenue rankings as counted by SuperData in May — the first time it hadn’t made an appearance in that list.

Source: Apptopia via VentureBeat via VG247

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Pokemon Go: The Milwaukee lawsuit, rare Pikachu, and the gym reporting problem

It’s been almost a year now since non-expat Americans were able to play Niantic’s Pokemon Go. While we’re naturally seeing birthday rumors, the game’s unique position in gaming has led to continued lawsuit issues over AR and Niantic’s struggle with moderating its content.

Rumors of a shiny Pikachu are being linked with both a brief “one-year anniversary” line of code that was recently datamined and news that Niantic will release a “rare Pikachu” at ACM Siggraph.

Meanwhile, the lawsuit between Candy LAB AR and Milwaukee County that we previously reported has led to the two sides exchanging words, none more damning than those of the county:

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Massively Overthinking: Do MMORPGs aspire to pro-social mechanics?

Massively OP reader and Patron Avaera has a thoughtful question for the team and readers this week. “I wish more virtual world games thought deeply about what impact they can have for the better,” he writes.

“It seems to me we are living in a time when tribalism, intolerance, and lack of empathy are increasing, with online trolling, harassment and simple nastiness on the rise even before considering where real-world politics seems to be heading. Yet research continues to show that immersive virtual worlds (including MMOs) have significant potential to change us through the type of experiences they offer, with recent examples being that a VR out-of-body experience can reduce fear of death and that social exclusion in a game environment carries a negative effect on real-world emotions. Do you think any MMOs are already using this incredible power to change us as people through pro-social mechanics, activities or narratives? Can you think of any examples where you have been moved or changed by game experiences, for better or worse, and do you think this was a deliberate act by developers? As our genre continues on a trajectory away from massively social roleplay towards cliquish competitive skirmishing, are there any signs that there are still companies willing to test whether virtual world games can be more than just moment-to-moment fun or entertainment?”

I posed Avaera’s question to the whole team for an intriguing Overthinking.

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The MOP Up: Gamescom’s big opening by Angela Merkel (June 25, 2017)

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 MechWarrior OnlineMu OriginDark Age of CamelotAstellia OnlineMarvel End Time ArenaRagnarok Online, and Guild Wars 2, all waiting for you after the break!

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SuperData May 2017: WoW recombinated, Dota 2 in the top 10, and Pokemon Go out

Almost lost in the buzz today was the release of SuperData’s rundown of the global digital games market for May. You’ll notice immediately that World of Warcraft has once again been rejoined! SuperData had split the game into east and west versions for its January report, then botched the entries in February and hastily repaired its graphic to rejoin the two; in March, the WoWs were one from the get-go but split up again in April. Now we’re back to one. It’s still not clear what’s going on there.

In any case, it’s allowed for a new entry on the PC side: Dota 2, which recently patched in PvE, apparently to good effect. On the mobile side, Pokemon Go has vanished entirely from the top 10, though we won’t be surprised to see it return next month as the summer events heat up.

Overwatch shows continued growth,” writes the research firm. “Overwatch digital revenues are up from April but down from May 2016, when it launched. Additional Content revenue hit a new high in May on the back of a one-year anniversary event.”
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The Chicago Pokemon Go Fest was sold out in less than a minute

Following the huge reveal of Pokemon Go’s summer content plans — detailed in yesterday’s massive overview and interview by MOP’s Andrew Ross — Niantic followed through on its plan to shutdown all gyms for renovation. Yes, we’re still talking about virtual space here. The gyms will play host to the game’s new gym battle system, which basically brings PvP into the MMOARG and can culminate in epic raid boss fights.

Meanwhile, if you weren’t one of the lucky few who snapped up Pokemon Go Fest tickets for the event in Chicago within the first few seconds of the sale going live, well, there’s always Ebay. As I type this, scalpers are selling tickets on the auction platform for over $300 apiece (they’re selling, too; one is going for $340 at the moment). Maybe a better system for vending tickets might be in order for the next event, yeah?

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E3 2017: Pokemon Go’s raiding, gym revamp, badges, and an interview with Niantic

Surprise! Niantic brought Pokemon Go to E3 2017 and invited members of the gaming press outside the sacred halls of the Los Angeles Convention Center to check out the upcoming raid system at a nearby gym. We were granted not just some juicy details on upcoming changes but a rare chance to interview several key members of the team, including Senior Product Manager Tatsuo Nomura, Global Product Marketing Lead Archit Bhargava, and a bit of time with Niantic Director of Engineering Edward Wu.

Perhaps more so than the Generation 2 update, summer feels like it’s bringing an expansion-like update to the free to play game.

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The MOP Up: EVE Valkyrie lowers its price point (June 11, 2017)

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 MechWarrior OnlineGuild Wars 2EverQuest IICabal OnlineEVE ValkyrieParagonSecond LifeLuna OnlineAtelier OnlineFinal Fantasy XILegend of Ancient Sword OnlineNo Man’s SkyHeroes of the StormArt of ConquestDreadnoughtOverwatchSINoALICEBlade and SoulPokemon Go, and Eternal Crusade, all waiting for you after the break!

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Massively Overthinking: MMO monetization run amok

Over the last couple of weeks, the monetization of unreleased games has become a pervasive and uncomfortable theme for the MMO genre. Just in brief:

The frustrating bit is I could go on, and this is just for games that aren’t even formally launched yet. So for this week’s Massively Overthinking, I want to take the temperature of alarm regarding these types of business models for unlaunched games. Is this all par for the course, in line with what we expect from the new MMO market? Have they gone too far yet? If not, what’s too far? How do we feel about this type of pre-launch monetization run amok?

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Pokemon Go Fest unleashes summer events in the US, Europe, and Japan

Can you believe Pokemon Go is almost a year old? Remember back when there was so much PoGo news that we gave up and went to a daily roundup of all the nonsense and vandalism and accidents and lawsuits and government security freakouts? Good times, good times. Niantic also remembers and is ramping up to celebratory summer events — plural. If you still play, here’s what you’re looking at during Pokemon Go Fest:

  • There’s a Pokemon Go celebration in Chicago’s Grant Park on June 19th. (You have to buy tickets, note.) The studio says other US cities may get their own version of this meet-and-greet.
  • Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers across Europe will play host to multiple celebrations over the next four months. No details yet.
  • Yokohama, Japan, will suffer a “Pikachu Outbreak,” which sounds scary but is said to be a “unique experience.”
  • Finally, everyone can take part in the Solstice Event:

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Massively Overthinking: 2017’s MMORPG zeitgeist

This time last year, I polled the Massively OP writers for their opinions on which MMOs had had the best year, or half year, up to that point in 2016 — which games were the most influential and important specifically in that time period. I was pretty surprised at the spread of answers too. Since we’re nearing the midpoint of 2017, I thought we should renew that question and see whether anything’s changed. So as last time, I’m asking everyone to pick three games that represent the MMORPG zeitgeist, using whatever combination of criteria they wish – revenue, playerbase size, hype, anticipation, update cycle, and so forth. What should we be paying attention to? Which games are a sign of the times? And just who is dominating now in 2017?
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Another study finds Pokemon Go improves players’ physical activity

Yet another academic group has published research suggesting that Pokemon Go can be a useful tool for promoting exercise.

Duke University researchers funded by the American Heart Association studied 167 young adults and found that “Pokemon Go participation was associated with a significant increase in [physical activity].”

“We conducted a retrospective observational study among Pokémon GO players in September 2016 and analyzed their level of PA in terms of step count as reported on the iPhone Health app 3 weeks before and 3 weeks after initiation of Pokémon GO play. Specifically, we sought to compare changes in PA level before and after playing Pokémon GO and whether such changes differ by age, sex, baseline PA level, body mass index, and level of engagement in the game. The latter included a subjective measure of self‐reported playing time as well as an objective measure of game progression indicating players’ level of engagement.”

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