Skip to main content

‘Pokémon Go’ drove The Pokémon Company’s profits to record heights

Image used with permission by copyright holder
Thought Pokémon Go — the augmented reality smartphone game about hunting, capturing, and battling monsters — was just a fad? Think again. Thanks in part to the app’s continued success, The Pokémon Company recorded 26 times the profit it made the previous year.

That is according to Katan Games, Inc. CEO Serkan Toto, who noticed the line item in Japan’s Kanpo Gazette. “Net profit reached a staggering US$143.3 million in the fiscal year that ended on February 28, 2017 (there are no sales figures given),” Toto wrote in a blow-by-blow analysis on his blog. Last fiscal year (which ended Feb. 29, 2016), the Pokémon Company recorded profits of just $5.6 million.

“It’s widely known that if a developer lands a big hit on mobile, the profitability is much higher than for other platforms,” Toto told The Verge. “Some publicly traded mobile-game makers in Japan, for example, regularly boost operating margins of 40 percent and higher. I think that thanks to Pokémon Go being a mobile title and [Pokémon developer] Niantic getting better at live operations (at servicing, updating, tweaking the game), The Pokémon Company will continue to enjoy handsome profits over the next years,” he said.

Pokemon Go Plus
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

Pokémon Go’s profitability is something of an open secret. In July 2016, app analytics firm Sensor Tower estimated that it hit 50 million downloads from the Google Play Store, Android’s app store, over the course of a single weekend. And in January, Nintendo reported a profit of $569 million on revenue of $1.5 billion — an uptick the company attributed in part to Pokémon Go. 

It wasn’t just Pokémon Go that boosted The Pokémon Company’s bottom line, of course. Pokémon Sun and Moon helped — they clocked a collective 15.69 million in sales on Nintendo’s 3DS — as did Pokémon X and Y, which drove The Pokémon Company’s profits to $10.6 million last fiscal year.

But The Pokémon Company remains very much invested in the app’s future. In a recent interview with Brazilian outlet O Globo, Mathieu de Fayet, Niantic’s vice president of strategic partnerships, said that the company was “working on new features” like “how to give more value to the choice of teams,” the “release of Legendary Pokémon,” and battles between players. “Because of the great success, we had to postpone a few features that were planned,” he said.

The Pokémon Company was founded in 1998 in Tokyo by three companies — Nintendo, Game Freak, and Creatures. It manages the Pokémon brand, including the franchise’s video games, animated series, films, trading card game, and other ventures.

Editors' Recommendations

Kyle Wiggers
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kyle Wiggers is a writer, Web designer, and podcaster with an acute interest in all things tech. When not reviewing gadgets…
5 Pokémon spinoff series we want to return after Detective Pikachu
Key art from the 3DS game Pokémon Super Mystery Dungeon.

Detective Pikachu Returns launched on Nintendo Switch earlier this month, continuing one of Pokémon's many spinoff series. It follows in the footsteps of Pokémon Snap, which received a long-awaited sequel on Nintendo Switch in 2021.
Seeing both of these side series receive brand-new games on Nintendo Switch has certainly left me hoping that other Pokémon spinoffs eventually make a comeback. Some deserve bigger and bolder games to explore some new concepts, while others could just use a fresh coat of paint on modern Nintendo hardware. Here are five Pokémon spinoff series that I hope are next in line for new installments.
Pokémon Ranger

The first spinoff series that needs to make a comeback is Pokémon Ranger, which hasn't seen a new entry since Pokémon Ranger: Guardian Signs in 2010. In this side series for Nintendo DS, players were the titular Rangers instead of Pokémon trainers and served as ecological Peacekeepers for regions exclusive to these games. They feature some of the wildest plots of any Pokémon game and feel different from most other Pokémon games because of their unique capturing system that has players drawing lots of rings around a Pokémon to tame them.
While the stylus-driven gameplay does heavily tie this series to the DS, a new entry could replicate that experience with motion controls or find a new design approach to taming Pokémon entirely. I grew up playing the Pokémon Ranger games in addition to the mainline series and loved the distinct gameplay experience and look at the world of Pokémon they offered. I'd love to see a developer make another attempt at exploring this concept on modern Nintendo hardware.
Pokémon Rumble

Read more
All new Pokémon in The Teal Mask DLC
A big green bear Pokémon in the teal mask.

Even though it isn't a new generation, The Teal Mask DLC for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet is still introducing a handful of new Pokémon to add to your Pokédex. Whether or not you've already been filling out and completing your collection in the base game, everyone is curious to see what new types, designs, and abilities a new set of Pokémon brings to the table. Here are all the brand new Pokémon you can find while exploring the Land of Kitakami and their types.
Every new Pokémon in The Teal Mask

Ogerpon (4 types)
Ogerpon is the newest Legendary to be added to the series, and is by default a Grass type. However, in keeping with the theme of masks, it will change its form and type depending on what mask it is wearing, such as the Wellspring mask, Hearthflame mask, and Cornerstone mask. By default, Ogerpon is wearing the titular Teal mask.
This is a dog-themed Poison and Fighting-type Legendary that is a Hero of Kitakami. This Pokémon has no evolutions.
This curious monkey is a Poison and Psychic-type Legendary that also holds the title of Hero of Kitakami. Munkidori has no evolutions.
The final Hero of Kitakami is Fezandipiti, the Poison and Fairy-type Legendary. As usual, this Legendary can't evolve.
A rare Grass and Dragon type, Dipplin is an evolution of Applin.
You could probably guess Poltchageist was a Grass and Ghost type by its name and design. This Pokémon can evolve into Sinistcha using either an Unremarkable Teacup or Masterpiece Teacup.
The evolution of Poltageist we just talked about, Sinistcha remains a Grass and Ghost type.

Read more
Pokémon Scarlet and Violet DLC The Teal Mask arrives in September
Some of the new Pokemon from Pokemon Scarlet and Violet: The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero Part 1 - The Teal Mask.

As the final major announcement of the August 8 Pokémon Presents, The Pokémon Company gave a deep dive into the two DLCs that make up The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero expansion for Pokémon Scarlet and Violet. The first of these, The Teal Mask, even got a September 13 release date.

Explore beyond Paldea's borders in The Hidden Treasure of Area Zero! ?️

Read more