Apple reveals that App Store revenues rose by 40 percent to $20 billion in 2016, and that Pokemon GO and Super Mario Run were significant factors in that.
Augmented reality game Pokemon GO was a roaring success in 2016. Not only was the game – which allows players to catch 'em all in real life – downloaded over 500 million times, but it was also a serious money maker. While the game made $200 million in its first month, the free-to-play app likely ended the year having made substantially more from its microtransactions, as Apple now says that the title was a key factor in the increase of App Store revenues.
Apple has now reported (via CNBC) that in 2016, App Store revenues rose by 40% to a massive $20 billion. Apple makes approximately 30 cents for each dollar spent on the marketplace, and an analyst estimates that Apple itself made $8 billion from the App Store in 2016. Calling 2016 an "amazingly great year for the App Store," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing says that Pokemon GO was one of the biggest drivers of this increased figure.
Schiller also highlighted Nintendo's new mobile game, Super Mario Run, as another key reason for that revenue growth. Although the game has only been available since December, analysts estimate that Super Mario Run has been downloaded more than 40 million times, and has made tens of millions of dollars through full game unlocks, as players pay $10 to access all of its gameplay features. As it has now been revealed that Super Mario Run was the most downloaded app on Christmas Day, these figures no longer seem like such a surprise.
2016 may have been a standout year, but 2017 has also been a positive money-making year for Apple so far, as on January 1, 2017, users spent a "record" $240 million on the App Store. While it's unclear how much of that was spent on Pokemon GO (perhaps as a result of the Pokemon GO holiday update) or Super Mario Run, Apple does say that the "top grossing" markets are the United States, the United Kingdom, China and Japan, with these regions seeing a 90% growth year-on-year.
It's difficult to predict whether 2017 will be another landmark year for Apple and whether any game will be able to replicate Pokemon GO's success. The Pokemon Company has outlined several reasons for Pokemon GO's success, including the fact that it is a cross-generational hit and that social media interest also played its part too. Pokemon GO could be one of a kind, or upcoming releases such as Nintendo's Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem mobile games could do one better. Either way, it will be exciting to see how things unfold.
Pokemon GO is available now on iOS and Android.