Niantic’s earning in Pokémon GO skyrockets as its players resort to in-app purchases of gaming items after the pandemic forces them to play indoors.
Niantic has been very interactive with its Pokémon GO trainers after the coronavirus pandemic forced governments to implement lockdowns and quarantine protocols. Its devs had to revamp the Augmented Reality gameplay to make it more indoor-conducive and less of an outdoor wilderness adventure.
In a normal gaming situation, trainers would need to travel and visit PokéStops to replenish game items, such as Poké Balls, potions, and lure modules, for free. However, with the pandemic hindering trainers to travel, they have no choice but to buy from the in-app store the items they’d need to continue playing.
With Niantic making it easier to catch and hatch Pokémons now, and more accessible Gym Raids, trainers will have to take advantage of this opportunity, hence the need for more items.
🔥🔥 A moment with Pikachu + Charmander + Cyndaquil + Torchic + Chimchar + You = A great way to end our Sinnoh-themed Pokémon GO adventures. 🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/NRKKoCsK7n
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) May 29, 2020
Reports reflect nearly 70% in-app spending
Forbes notes the latest report from Statista, which reflects “nearly 70%” of weekly player spending in Pokémon GO. It is important to note that the data is based on the week ending on March 16, when the nations started transitioning to quarantine protocols.
On the said week, the numbers skyrocketed to US$23 million [AU$33 million], from the previous week’s $13.6 million. The biggest share on this in-game spending is reportedly coming from the players in the U.S., amounting to a total of $7.8 million.
More updated figures are yet to be published, but the media outlet does highlight the likelihood of the numbers rising further since then. Most especially after launching the 1 PokéCoin bundles, and Remote Raid Passes.
Changes made by the makers to comfort its isolated players
In an ESPN “Stuck Inside With” interview series, writer Brian Bencomo spoke with the Pokémon Go lead project manager Matt Slemon about the drastic changes they’ve made to the AR mobile gameplay.
Slemon explained to ESPN’s Bencomo how their team keenly monitored the coronavirus situation, saying, “Over the past couple of months we’ve been trying to keep an eye on the global situation and trying to make changes that make sense. We tried to be as local as we could initially, but as the situation became global, it ended up being global changes.”
Noted changes that have been made were the adjusted mobility to catch Pokémons, adding more of them within the players’ short vicinity, and the reduced requirement for egg hatching.
Niantic even reportedly came up with a “Play At Home” guide to further help its players adjust to the new mechanics. Accordingly, the guide will soon be integrated into the mobile application, but as of the moment, it is accessible on the website.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) June 2, 2020
Now, the changes only took place due to the pandemic. Although the Go Battle League launch was a planned implementation and just conveniently coincided with the current global situation.
The question is, will Niantic slowly remove these changes once everything is back to normal?
Slemon tells ESPN:
“There are definitely some changes where we think it has pretty radically changed the feel of the game. So for things like raids, as an example, someday raids really should go back to how they were. I think that’s part of the critical identity of the game. … It’s fun to get the Pokémon, but part of the fun of Pokémon Go has also been the real-world exploration and community engagement that you get, so we do want to bring those elements back.”
Nevertheless, he did say that the increased number of Pokéballs players receive from gifts will likely stick around.
Featured image courtesy of Paintimpact/Flickr