Pokémon GO, which was released in 2016, defied the odds and exceeded its revenue from its launch year with earnings of nearly $900 million in 2019.
The location-based mobile game made $894 million in 2019, according to Sensor Tower Store Intelligence, which was more than the earnings of $832 million when Pokémon GO took the world by storm in 2016. It is a rare feat for a free-to-play game to make more money at a later year after launch, as most fail to keep players’ interests over time.
In 2017, Pokémon GO made $589 million, still a hefty amount but much lower compared to the previous year. This may be attributed to issues such as hardcore players trespassing and causing accidents, as well as the failure of Pokémon GO Fest in Chicago’s Grant Park in July 2017 that resulted in a class-action lawsuit.
The game recovered in 2018, making $816 million, before marking its best year ever in 2019.
Sensor Tower attributed much of Pokémon GO‘s growth to the launch of in-game events, improvements to real-world events, and significant updates that keep on adding content to the mobile game. The report mentioned the introduction of Team Rocket at the end of July 2019, which resulted in the game’s fourth- and fifth-best months ever with revenue of $116 million and $126 million in August 2019 and September 2019, respectively.
In comparison, the best months of Pokémon GO were the first three months since its 2016 launch, with $256 million in July, $195 million in August, and $141 million in September.
Sensor Tower revealed that most of Pokémon GO‘s revenue in 2019 was from the United States, where it made 38% of its earnings, or $335 million. Japan came in second at 32%, or $286 million, followed by Germany in third at 6%, or $54 million.
Niantic Labs is estimated to have made more than $3.1 billion from Pokémon GO, and while the developer does not keep all of it as it is in a revenue-sharing agreement with The Pokémon Company, in which Nintendo owns a significant stake, it is still a massive haul.
It remains to be seen what Niantic Labs has in store for Pokémon GO in 2020, but fans are likely looking forward to many years of catching Pokémon in augmented reality.