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‘Pokémon Go’ hits 500 million downloads, with billions of miles walked

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Just when we were starting to wonder if Pokémon Go had grabbed its coat and left the building, the hype dial was turned all the way up to 11 on Wednesday when it was announced the augmented-reality smartphone game is coming to the Apple Watch.

The news was revealed by John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon Go maker Niantic, during Apple’s big iPhone 7 unveiling event in San Francisco, with the boss using his time on stage to drop a few more Go-related bombshells.

The most notable of these was that the game has now been downloaded more than 500 million times. That’s 500 million downloads since it first hit Android and iOS app stores on July 6. The launch was staggered to ease the burden on Niantic’s servers, but this sensibly cautious approach still caused problems early on as hordes of interested players rushed to get the game on their device.

And if that number doesn’t sound impressive, well, cast your mind back to Angry Birds, another phenomenally successful smartphone game that took the world by storm a few years back. The popular bird-slinging game took almost 12 months to hit 100 million downloads back in 2011, making Pokémon Go‘s achievement all the more impressive.

Two months on, the free monster-catching game is now available in more than 100 countries and was recently reported to have pulled in a whopping $200 million in revenue in the space of just four weeks.

And here’s another revelation from Hanke. Thanks to Pokémon Go‘s gameplay encouraging smartphone-wielding Trainers to get off the sofa and visit real-world locations, players have so far walked a collective total of 2.9 billion miles (4.6 billion km) while playing the game. The CEO said that with elements of the game heading to the Apple Watch, he hopes it’ll encourage even more people to incorporate the game into their daily lives, leading to more exploration of the great outdoors and increased exercise levels.

So is it really anywhere near being game over for Pokémon Go? Don’t bet on it.

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