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‘Pokémon Go’ loses 15 million active players in a month

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Pokémon Go might have been the flavor of the month in July, but a few more weeks on and it’s already seeing a big decline in downloads, active users and time spent playing each day. According to research conducted by Axiom Capital Management (via Bloomberg), some 15 million active players have disappeared from the augmented reality game in the past month.

Pokémon Go’s daily active user peak was around July 18, when it registered just shy of 45 million people. In comparison, as we head towards the end of August, the user numbers are sitting somewhere around 30 million. Engagement with the application is similarly on a decline, though that peaked near the start of August, when developer Niantic re-introduced a tracking system to the game.

In related research, Pokémon Go’s initial release drove a big increase in people Googling terms related to augmented reality, but those have fallen to near previous levels in the weeks following the game’s release.

Of course a big drop-off was in many ways to be expected. A game that crosses over into the mainstream as Pokémon Go was able to do in a very short time was always going to lose people as time drew on, especially those that are not regular gamers. Indeed many gamers likely stopped playing when the gameplay became apparent: Pokémon Go is about walking and walking some more.

There were also a lot of post launch issues with server stability, complaints about microtransactions, and a lot of cheaters — all things that have sunk much more traditional computer or smartphone games in the past. But even though it’s in decline, if Pokémon Go can retain several million active players, it will have more than enough to continue development.

Still, many people are looking at this research as an indicator that Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that doesn’t capture the world’s imagination quite like virtual reality can. That would be unfair to AR though, as what Pokémon Go offers is a far cry from what is made possible by the Microsoft Hololens or Leap Motion devices.

How is Pokémon Go holding up in your friendship group? Are you still playing?

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Jon Martindale
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