Lets talk Pokemon Go. Mobile is the Magical Money-Making Machine. It is LITERALLY the fastest way to make money on the planet. The richest company in human history was on the brink of bankruptcy three decades ago. Then it discovered mobile. The second most valuable company in human history was a clueless internet search engine that said quite openly, we don't know how we'll make money but we'll figure it out. They found mobile. And the fastest ever company to become one of the 5 richest in the world, was also lost in its core business struggling to make money with social media. Then it discovered mobile. The secret sauce to why Apple, Google and Facebook are so filthy rich and profitable and valuable, they don't know what to do with their money - the secret is, Mobile. Mobile is the Magical Money-Making Machine! I should know, I literally wrote the book on how this industry makes its money (15 years ago, M-Profits, my second global bestseller, was translated and into multiple printings).
Some clueless writers have been telling you that the Pokemon Go craze is over, it was a fad, its vanishing, its shrinking, its disappearing. That is as silly a story as saying James Bond is dead because nobody pays to watch the movie 007 SPECTRE in the cinema anymore - in February 2017 when the movie came out in 2015. That is IDIOTIC stupid moronic lazy thinking and it is misleading readers. We all know, a movie lives and makes money in many ways (if its a success), one is the money they make out of the box office sales of at the cinema. Other ways the movie lives in future sales like DVD sales and rentals. Then the movie goes into various television sales through premium movie channels, airplane viewings, etc until it hits our home TV on broadcast TV and earns its broadcasters advertising revenues, etc. And there is the merchandising. And then, there is the sequel (007 SPECTRE is the 23rd sequel (so its movie number 24) in the longest-running cinema success story in history, where the first James Bond movie was 007 Dr No in 1962, 55 years ago. And obviously the movies themselves are adaptations of Ian Fleming's global bestselling book series about the spy. Just because cinema box office intake of 007 SPECTRE is 'shrinking' some weeks after the movie opened, does NOT mean the 007 series is in any kind of trouble. But now some idiot tech writers are telling us that Pokemon Go is somehow passe and the world has somehow moved beyond Pokemon Go.
Remember Apple? Google? Facebook? Your fave tech stories? None of them were MOBILE players. All of them DISCOVERED mobile and turned mobile into their magical key to success, from a computer maker, to an internet search company, to a social media service. All discovered IMMENSE FORTUNE through mobile, both through hardware (Apple, Google) and through software/service (Apple, Google and Facebook). And if you could go back in time, you'd want to be able to go back a decade and buy stocks of Apple, Google and Facebook haha, you'd be so so so rich now....
Now about those RECORD setting companies. They discovered their eldorado through mobile. But who BROKE THE RECORD for fastest to one Billion dollars in mobile? It was not Apple, not Google, not Facebook. Its not Uber or Twitter or Snapchat. Its not Candy Crush or Clash of Clans or Angry Birds. The RECORD-BREAKER in mobile success is... Pokemon Go.
In literally a world record, in only 7 months, Pokemon Go went from zero dollars in income to $1 Billion.
I will state that again
In literally a world record of any industry success, in an astonishingly short period, of only 7 months, Pokemon Go went from zero dollars to 1 Billion dollars.
They are NOT a mobile company. Just like Apple, Google and Facebook, Pokemon and its parent, Nintendo are not a mobile company. They were a playing cards game with TV and movie and other elements (Pokemon, that is). Pokemon games and spin-offs have been sold over 280 million copies in several decades and spawned as series of movies, etc. All before they discovered mobile last year. And yes, the game itself is licenced from Nintendo and produced by Niantic with Nintendo, through The Pokemon Company. But understand. If you thought Apple was amazing, if you thought Facebook or Google are amazing. What Pokemon Go has done in 7 months is FAR FAR FAR superior to what Apple or Google or Facebook managed to do when they enterered mobile. And look where they arrived. Undestand, dear reader, what I am saying. If you think Apple or Google or Facebook is currently great - what Pokemon Go (and Nintendo and Niantic) have done in their first 7 months is VASTLY BETTER than what Apple, Google or Facebook managed when they entered mobile. VASTLY better. VASTLY. Pokemon Go is literally setting the world record for success.
Pokemon Go is not just the most successful AR Augmented Reality venture (which it is).
Pokemon Go is not just the most successful App ever launched (which it is)
Pokemon Go is not just the most successful game ever launched (which it is)
Pokemon Go is not just the most successful new digital service ever launched (which it is)
Pokemon Go is the most successful new venture ever in human history of ANY INDUSTRY of any time, ever. In its first 7 months it reached $1 Billion dollars of sales. Pokemon Go is a 2 Billion dollar company in its first year. It is nearly halfway to being a Fortune 500 sized company - in its FIRST YEAR.
There has NEVER BEEN A SUCCESS AS ENORMOUS AS Pokemon Go. I am not talking about HYPE or investor hysteria. I am not talking about 'valuation' or a Wall Street opinion or a buy-out;. I am talking of REVENUE actually EARNED. REAL HONEST SUCCESS, not salesmanship and bullshit. This has never happened before. Not in gaming not in mobile not in tech, not in media, not anywhere. The ONLY limitation is so far, that we only have seen the first 7 months of this juggernaut and its very first steps into the global stage.
Are you aware that Pokemon Go has not even launched in the world's largest market with the most smartphones in use? China? Or that Pokemon Go only launched in India in December (second largest smartphone market in the world, also ahead of the USA).
Mobile is the Magical Money-Making Machine as I have been teaching in my workshops and seminars all around the world, and showing my all my books for 15 years now. Pokemon Go is only the latest example of this - they will not be the last or the greatest - someone ELSE will break THIS record. But do not listen to the fools who say Pokemon Go is past us. That Pokemon Go is something you can now safely ignore. Would you have ignored Apple in 2009 as the iPhone broke all records for smartphone sales? Would you have ignored Google in 2010 when it was taking the mobile ad market globally by storm? Would you have ignored Facebook in 2013 when it had finally figured out that social media on the PC will not make money - but social media on mobile is .. a Magical Money-Making Machine haha. No. Why would you ignore the FASTEST GROWING BUSINESS IN HUMAN HISTORY? Pokemon Go.
Because some users tired of it, Tomi! No, ALL mobile games experience a loss in early retention. ALL STATS SAY that the RATE of Pokemon Go retention loss is the SAME RATE as other games, like Candy Crush, like Angry Birds, like Clash of Clans etc. SAME RATE. Except, Pokemon Go is MASSIVELY BIGGER than any of those, so its starting point is FAR HIGHER - meaning it has FAR FAR FAR more money to be made, as its moderately-engaged marginal users drop off, and the more heavily engaged users remain.
Pokemon Go earns 1.5 million dollars PER DAY currently, globally (while its next release in the saga is far away - Valentines's Day - and its last update was long ago - Halloween).. Yes, in the USA Pokemon Go has about 23 million users (down from a peak of 66 million) but that is normal - it is still FOUR TIMES BETTER than the second most popular videogame in the USA !!!! FOUR TIMES BETTER.
So lets talk about those users. Pokemon Go has achieved over 600 million downloads. Thats 19% of all smartphones in the world. BUT Pokemon Go is not yet launched everywhere. If we ONLY take out China smartphone users, in the rest of the world, Pokemon Go has been downloaded by a massive 25% of all smartphone owners worldwide (outside of China).
Do they all play daily. Of course not. Some try it and don't like it and stop altogether and remove the app - that is NORMAL FOR ANY APP. But others who like Pokemon Go but aren't that into it - now have it installed, and are RIPE FOR THE NEXT VERSION or any gimmick the game brings to them.
So again, context. Angry Birds, the most downloaded game of all time, by Finnish tech company Rovio, was the previous champion. Angry Birds achieved 1 Billion downloads in its first 3 years (has passed 3 Billion by now). They breached the 500 million download level at 6 months from launch. How is Pokemon Go doing? Pokemon Go is already past 600 million downloads and reached 500 million in THREE MONTHS - literally LAPPING THE FIELD vs the previous champion, Angry Birds. Angry Birds has earned a cumulative 1 Billion dollars in about its first 6 years. Pokemon Go earned its first Billion dollars in SEVEN MONTHS.
The richest app developer, the richest game publisher, the most successful mobile content company in history, fellow Finnish mobile juggernaut Supercell, owner of such titles as Clash of Clans and Boom Beach and Hay Day, earn about $2.5 Billion dollars out of ALL of their games, annually, combined. Pokemon Go currently is on track to earn $1.7 Billion dollars out of ONE GAME ALONE - and that is assuming no further growth this year - haha, thats a laugh. (Softbank of Japan bought most of Supercell which it recently sold to Tencent of China for $8.6 Billion US dollars so that gives you some scope of how incredibly valuable a successful mobile property can be).
Pokemon Go is the MOST SUCCESSFUL TECH LAUNCH IN HISTORY. By FAR. But who is telling you this? Or are they telling you stories about how Apple Watch is actually not quite as horribly a disaster as we all thought it is? Are they telling you stories about Microsoft's pathetic plays on the fringes of mobile, after they blew it with Nokia? Who is reporting to you about the BIGGEST SUCCESS IN TECH, EVER? And doing it properly, accurately, and explaning the REAL RELEVANCE of this all?
So, the company (more Niantic, not Nintendo per se) is being quite secretive about its numbers. And we get precious few other stats to use. But we have some. The download cumulative numbers are past 600 million. The revenues now passed $1 Billion. But what of active users? You may have seen a 23 million active user number often quoted. That is not GLOBAL numbers. That is a count of USA numbers, active users. Down from a peak of 66 million and now at 23 million. Like I said, its four times better than the second most played videogame in the USA. But lets try to see global numbers. There are only about 250 million smartphones in the USA, and 600 million total Pokemon Go downloads. So obviously the majority has been abroad. And not all US smartphone owners have downloaded the game. But lets be VERY conservative. Lets say the world splits 2:1, for every 1 Pokemon Go download in the USA, there are two outside of the USA (it was reportedly downloaded by 15% of all Australians already by August of last year, and 4 million are playing Pokemon Go in South Korea right now, in January, etc). So lets say its 200 million in the USA and 400 million elsewhere. And lets assume that the usage is similar worldwide. Then if the USA has now settled to about 23 million active Pokemon Go users, then the world has about 69 million active Pokemon Go users. That seems about right. Would be just under 12% of all who had downloaded the game at some point.
And if we take those 69 million active users and multiply it by $1.50 dollars per month of average spend, we get currently earned income in the range of $100 million per month. That is down from the peak reported of $210 per month in August. We are learning that the game currently has its users catching Pokemon characters at the rate of 533 million per day. That works out to 7.7 Pokemon Go characters caught per active user daily. Thats a lot of gaming involvement. It takes a lot of walking and hatching of eggs and whatever all it takes to play the addictive game.
Some closing thoughts. First, AR. Augmented Reality. Pokemon Go alone achieved 600 million people worldwide to experiment with AR last year and of those at least 69 million have become accustomed to interacting with AR on a regular basis. Don't think AR will disappear. It will be a mass media, as I predicted. TV was the fifth mass media, Internet was the sixth, mobile was the seventh mass media channel and AR will become the 8th mass media. It will have 1 Billion active users by year 2020 worldwide - which for scale, is about twice the size of the global daily circulation of newspapers. Yes, AR is real, it will come - and it comes fast. AR is the 8th Mass Media. You read that first on this blog when I told you.
Second, gaming. In gaming you have hits (Angry Birds, Clash of Clans etc) and if you have a hit, it can be a monster global massive hit. Gaming as an industry is already larger than music worldwide, or movies worldwide (actually larger than movies and music, combined). Mobile is now the largest part of the gaming revenues, as I told you all those years ago, it would become.
Third, apps. I told you apps are a lottery. 75% of all revenues out of apps are earned by games and even in gaming its a 'hits business' where for every 1 hit, there are 10 failures to sustain by the publishers. But in apps its a crap-shoot. You have only 1 in 100 chance of success. So unless you do games, don't expect to become rich via apps. There are dozens of better ways to make money in mobile, apps are literally the second-worst aspect of mobile for making money (location-based services are the only one area worse than apps). Anyone who wants to understand the money of mobile and the numbers, go read my TomiAhonen Almanac, it has all the numbers for you.
Pokemon Go? Wow, congratulations Niantic and Nintendo, what a wonderful success story! We love you. Please do innovate and create and show the rest of the digital content media industries how to do it. You are combining augmented reality with community involvement (social media) and mobile and payments and physical world movement (walking, hatching) with gamification and making mobile fun. Its a wonderful example for us all. Thank you! Good luck and here's to your second Billion dollars in income. May it come even faster than the first!
(PS anyone else who happens to need some REAL insights into how you make money in mobile not rubbish about bitcoins etc, then yes, I do still do the workshops and seminars about how mobile money is made. Contact me and we'll set up a time for your event or session or consulting).