The #SoMe Legend of Pokémon Go: Pokémon Go’s Impact on the Mobile Gaming IndustryAugust 22, 2016
Pokemon Go took the world by storm when it was released on July 6. Experts began to discuss the impact of the game on childhood obesity. People swarmed Central Park to catch a rare Pokemon. Cities erected fences to keep Pokemon Go-ers separate from regular pedestrians.
Vaporeon stampede Central Park, NYC from Woodzys on Vimeo.
But how are things looking a month into the craze? Is the glow wearing off, or is it stronger than ever? And how are other mobile games faring in an industry that’s now more competitive than ever?
We took a look at conversations around the top 50 grossing mobile apps right now across both their dedicated Facebook pages and the larger conversation around them on Twitter. Needless to say, Pokemon Go was the talk of the town last month. But well into this month, it’s still taking up a fairly significant portion of the conversation—in fact, it accounts for roughly one third of the total volume.
Gaming already reaps substantial revenue for its major players, with the U.S. market claiming $23.5 billion in 2015. For Pokemon Go to launch and instantly take up this much of the chatter is a game-changer. Although some of the chatter is starting to settle down after the excitement of the initial launch, a new benchmark has been set. Below is a more detailed breakdown of the Facebook and Twitter activity around Pokemon Go:
Overall, people are speaking very positively about the industry. Our Zoomph listening tools let us drill down into the data and determine that the initial negative spike in sentiment was mainly due to the instability of the Pokemon Go servers around launch time, when gamers flocked to try the app for the first time.
The negative spikes that followed were due, in part, to news outlets and users commenting on the safety risks of the app, e.g., opened opportunities for pedophiles and the increased risk to minorities. As things progress, these concerns will need to be addressed, hopefully in the context of larger conversations about the law and social justice.
Despite the large influx of conversation surrounding the game, as influencers, Pokemon Go didn’t take the top spot. That honor went to Supercell’s Clash of Clans, a freemium multiplayer strategy game that was rated the top revenue-generating game of 2015.
Clash of Clans’ influence is likely due to Supercell’s history. The gaming giant has earned quite a bit of credibility in the social space already, helping them remain competitive against Pokémon Go this season.
But despite being influential in the social space, and setting an excellent revenue benchmark in 2015, Clash of Clans just barely ranked as a top 5 grossing app in the iOS store for the week of August 9, according to App Annie. Pokemon Go still reigns.
We have yet to see if Pokemon Go’s success is an ongoing trend, or simply due to its recent release and novelty. But with Pokemon Go stealing everyone’s attention on social media, Supercell employees must remain on their toes to ensure their game remains competitive. Already, they commit to updating their app every few months, which means we can anticipate their next update coming out sometime this month. Other apps will similarly have to explore innovation and be sure they’re always offering something exciting to entice new and returning gamers.
Demographics of the Gaming Industry
One of the longest-standing stereotypes about gamers is that they’re primarily male, but our findings suggest otherwise. In fact, a quick look at the gender of mobile gamers over the past month shows us that they’re pretty evenly divided— with women even pulling slightly ahead.
We’re also told that gamers are often young (usually of high school age), but would you have guessed that Gen Z made up a very small percentage of users? Or that women overindexed among Gen X and Baby Boomers, compared to males who ranked predominantly Millennial? Did you know that your mother and grandmother may be gamers?
When looking at preferred social networks among and women, we also observed a huge divide. Women preferred to visit the Facebook Pages of their favorite games, while men tweeted up a storm.
People of all ages are responding to the same larger conversations, though. In this generation breakdown how the peaks and valleys line up across all generations:
So now we know how demographics are laid out across the industry…but what about Pokemon Go in particular?
Pokemon Go Fans: Platform Preferences & Demographics
What’s most interesting is that women are taking up 64% of the gaming conversations, but only 31% of the volume around Pokemon Go. The majority of the conversation specifically about Pokemon is coming from males.
In terms of generation, Millennials are occupying over half the conversations around Pokemon, leaving other age groups open to campaigns from competitors.
The last difference, and arguably the biggest, is platform preference. Pokemon Go hugely overindexes on Twitter.
My two cents: if I were a strategist for Nintendo, I’d consider buying ads specifically on Twitter, because that’s how huge it is. (Or maybe I’d start buying ads on Facebook to see if I could stir up more excitement there. Depends on what the internal goals are!)
- If you’re Nintendo, give yourself a high five, a pat on the back, a beer, and a nap. Then it’s back to work to making sure that Pokemon Go stays ahead of the game.
- If you work for another company, check out the gaps left in the market. You have opportunities to appeal to serious gamers outside of Pokemon’s Tweeting Millennial Male prime demographic. Take advantage of that whitespace and move in.
- If you don’t work in gaming at all, you can still leverage Pokemon’s popularity. You could use it to drive people to a local business, for example.
Our verdict: Is the hype around Pokemon Go dying?
The high conversation volume around Pokemon Go is already starting to taper off. Like most new things, the upfront novelty brings on a large influx of conversation, but that level of interest is almost never sustainable. However, we predict that Pokemon Go will continue to enjoy high engagement for quite some time and will remain one of the most talked-about games…until the next major gaming innovation comes along, anyways.
For the time being, it is has undoubtedly stirred the pot — drawing lots of attention to the mobile gaming industry, and setting the bar high for its competitors. On both the social and gaming front, it has redefined what it means to be successful.
P.S. If you haven’t tried Pokemon Go out yet, download the app and start building up your Pokedex. It’s strangely addicting.
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