Pokémon GO has been 'breaking the internet' since its release on July 6. Shooting to the top of the app store on the day it was released, within 24 hours, Pokémon GO beat out indie hit Slither.io and Supercell’s heavily promoted blockbuster Clash Royale to become the biggest game of 2016, as measured by daily active users (DAUs).
Its other feats included crossing Twitter's daily active users, and rising to the top of the App Store revenue charts, earning millions of dollars a day for its publisher, Niantic.
Now according to a Survey Monkey Intelligence report, Pokémon GO has another feather in its cap - it is now the biggest mobile game in US history, having beaten Candy Crush Saga in terms of peak DAUs.
Note: Candy Crush was widely reported to have 93 million total DAU at its peak, though this figure includes all countries and all devices. For the purposes of comparison Survey Monkey compared both apps on the basis of US smartphone audience.
According to the report, as of Tuesday, Pokémon GO attracted just under 21 million DAUs in the United States, surpassing Candy Crush saga’s rumoured peak US smartphone audience of 20 million, making it the biggest mobile game in US history.
Pokémon Go now gunning for SnapChat? (and Google Maps!)
So what’s next? At its current rate of growth, Survey Monkey estimates that Pokémon GO is on track to pass Snapchat within a couple of days on Android. Also, as unbelievable as it sounds, Pokémon GO Android could also surpass Google Maps itself as the largest user of Alphabet’s mapping data.
It is interesting to note that Niantic was earlier an internal startup at Google, before it spun out as an independent entity in October 2015, soon after Google restructured as Alphabet Inc. A recent report from Fortune suggests that Google, though, still owns a stake in Niantic and in an interview with Fortune, Global Equities Research MD for equity research Trip Chowdhry noted that “from an investment point-of-view, Google is definitely the winner.”
In 2004, Google acquired John Hanke's company Keyhole, which eventually became the basis for Google Earth, the online mapping service, for an undisclosed sum. He stayed on as the company’s VP of product management for the company’s Geo division. In 2010, as a part of Google’s initiative to breed to entrepreneurial spirit within its walls, John went on to found an internal Google startup known as Niantic Labs. Fortune notes,
Somewhere in Mountain View, Calif. someone at Google headquarters must be smiling and remembering the day the company decided to acquire a small startup named Keyhole and unleash what has become this year’s breakout game.
A home run for Niantic and Nintendo, or is it too soon?
Despite what Nintendo’s share price might suggest, Survey Monkey feels it is too early to declare Pokémon GO a win for the business. Nintendo has a minority stake in Pokémon GO, and will pocket just a small slice of the game’s profits.
History hasn’t always been kind to games that generate tremendous hype. Back in 2012, Draw Something consumed the public consciousness for a few weeks before its user numbers dropped like a stone. Nintendo’s last mobile game, Miitomo, met a similar fate, finding early success that was ultimately unsustainable.
Pokémon GO is already an unbelievably huge game, and if it can retain its legions of new users and convert them into highly engaged and paying players, then it could be a huge financial success. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.
Pokémon GO recently launched in Germany and it will be interesting to see how soon the game is available in all major countries and if it will be able to sustain its growth.
Feature image credit- Pokémon Go