Millions flocked to Pokémon Go Fest 2020 — and spent millions doing it

By nearly every measure, last weekend’s Pokémon Go Fest 2020 was a success. And developer Niantic Labs has the cash in the bank to prove it.

During the two-day virtual event, Pokémon Go players spent $17.5 million, app analytics company Sensor Tower reported in data provided to GamesIndustry.biz on Tuesday. Players spent $8.9 million on Saturday and $8.6 million on Sunday, and made Saturday the highest single-day Pokémon Go haul since July 29, 2016, when players spent $13.3 million on digital content just a couple of weeks after the game’s launch.

Sensor Tower didn’t specify what the players spent their cash on, but tickets to the two-day event cost $15 each. The tickets gave players access to daily 10-hour events, tasks to complete, rotating Pokémon habitats to explore, and more.

Niantic said in a blog post on Monday that its Pokémon Go Fest attracted “millions of people” from 124 countries but stopped short of saying exactly how many people participated in the event and how much money they spent. The company also declined a Digital Trends request for comment on Sensor Tower’s data and how much revenue it generated last weekend.

Niantic did say, however, that ticket sales exceeded expectations, and it’s now planning to donate $10 million to non-profits as part of the celebration, up from a previously announced $5 million gift. Niantic will donate the funds to various organizations that support Black gaming initiatives “with the ultimate goal of increasing content that represents a more diverse view on the world,” the company said in its blog post.

Pokémon Go Fest was supposed to be a global event where gamers could play the game with each other. But because of the global pandemic, Niantic Labs moved it to an all-virtual event and updated the game with new features that made it easier to play while socially distancing. Over the weekend, players took to Twitter and Reddit to share photos of themselves playing the game both alone and with others (while wearing masks).

Since its launch, Pokémon Go has tallied more than 1 billion downloads and still has millions of players four years after its launch. Sensor Tower said Tuesday that Pokémon Go has generated a total of $3.7 billion in revenue and $539 million in 2020, alone.

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