Pokémon GO: Thirty Days Later, is the Game Still Living Up to the Hype?

Since launching in the U.S. on July 6, Pokémon GO has been a mobile gaming sensation, attracting incredible user growth numbers that melted the game’s servers and caused chaos in real-world locations that unwittingly found themselves designated as Pokéstops and Poké Gyms. Within days, Pokemon GO inspired Pokémon GO-themed walks, events, protests, and countless articles speculating about everything from the societal benefits of the game to the future of AR- versus VR-centered gaming.

Verto Analytics took a look at the first 30 days’ worth of data from Pokémon GO data (gathered from U.S. adults, ages 18+) to see what might be next for the game; highlights include:

  • Pokémon GO has already catapulted to the top of the mobile gaming charts, shooting past perennial leaders like Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans.
  • A month after launch, Pokémon GO still has a daily audience of nearly 15 million, compared to Candy Crush’s 4 million daily users and Clash of Clans’ 3.1 million daily users.
  • 76% of downloads and installs happened before July 20 (within the first two weeks of the game’s launch)
  • Pokémon GO players are loyal: player engagement has only slightly dipped, and the game still garners an impressive 10 sessions per day for the average user.
  • An initial look at Pokémon GO’s retention numbers are especially remarkable the game had a 21% churn rate even 10 days after launch, whereas typical mobile games lose up to 60% of their audience within the first 24 hours after launch.

Can Pokémon GO survive the hype and maintain its position as one of the most popular and addictive mobile games? Mobile games are notoriously fickle: Verto Analytics’ own research shows that the typical mobile game retains less than 20% of users after the first 30 days. Last month, we took a look at a few basic numbers during the game’s first 11 days on the U.S. market. Thirty days later, we’re doing a deeper dive; can Pokémon GO beat the odds and maintain the same stratospheric user growth and momentum that it enjoyed in its first month?

Pokémon Has Peaked, But It Still Rules Mobile Games

Our data shows that the Pokémon GO craze peaked on July 15, with 45 million downloads and more than 30 million users (among U.S. adults, ages 18+), and has been in decline ever since. While user numbers haven’t fallen as precipitously as the average mobile game, as of August 3 (just a few days shy of Pokémon Go’s 30-day birthday), that’s still nearly a 41% drop in user numbers and it seems likely that smaller drops and a plateau will occur as the game stabilizes its core user base.

From a sheer user numbers perspective, Pokémon GO’s daily figures are still far ahead of some of the most popular mobile games such as Candy Crush Saga and Clash of Clans, which have consistently appeared at the top of Verto’s Mobile Gaming Index; on August 3rd, for instance, Pokémon Go still claimed nearly 15 million daily users, compared to Clash of Clans’ 3.1 million daily users and Candy Crush Saga’s 4 million daily users. If Pokemon GO can maintain anything near these daily figures, it will secure that game’s position at the top of the charts by a wide margin.

Pokemon: the Facebook of Mobile Games?

To determine if Pokémon GO has potential to become a true mobile gaming anomaly, we looked beyond the games vertical and compared it to leading social networking apps, one of the most consistently popular categories in terms of user numbers and engagement. This is where some truly impressive stats emerge: Pokémon GO’s current daily user numbers put it more in line with the likes of Snapchat than any of its gaming peers – and its engagement metrics (such as average number of sessions per day and session duration) boost it beyond social media giants like Facebook.

As expected, user engagement (the average number of daily sessions per user and the average amount of daily time spent in game per user) peaked soon after Pokémon GO was released, although some of those high numbers may be due to the game’s myriad server issues. However, even one month after Pokémon GO’s release, Verto data is still showing some impressive numbers: the average number of daily sessions per user is 14.5, and the average user spends more than 54 minutes per day playing Pokémon GO—numbers that far exceed rival mobile games and even the most popular social networking apps. Even towards the end of July, after the initial adoption rush, Pokémon GO’s average sessions per user have remained high, at around 10 sessions per day per user—far ahead of the numbers posted by either Clash of Clans or Candy Crush Saga, which reported approximately six and three sessions per day, respectively.

Pokémon GO is Also Winning the Retention Battle – For Now

In addition to its impressive user engagement stats, Pokémon GO is also showing a remarkably high user retention rate. An initial analysis of the first ten days of Pokémon GO’s lifespan shows that only 21% of all users had churned during that time. Previous Verto Analytics research has shown that 40%-60% of all users abandon a given mobile game within 24 hours of download, making this figure is especially notable. Combined with its high active daily user numbers, this retention stat indicates that Pokémon GO isn’t going anywhere for a while, although we’ll be running a more detailed retention analysis once the game hits its two-month birthday to see if the data tells the same story.

Pokémon GOES International

Despite peaking in user numbers in the U.S. in mid-July, Pokémon GO is still outperforming its mobile gaming and even some social networking peers and—more importantly—reporting very strong user engagement and retention figures. And that’s just for the domestic market—subsequent launches across Europe and in key Asian markets (such as Japan) indicate that Pokémon GO is continuing to take international markets by storm. What remains to be seen is if user behavior among these international audiences mirrors what we’re seeing in the U.S.—namely, extremely high numbers of daily active users and high retention rates—especially compared to other mobile gaming apps and even social networking apps. If these figures remain consistent regardless of geographic location, then we’re prepared to declare Pokémon GO a unique phenomenon among its gaming peers, and a truly international craze.

Interested in learning more about our Pokémon GO data and other insights on mobile gaming? Contact us, or follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.