The recently released augmented reality title Pokemon Go is a hit on the iOS App Store so far, and is currently the top grossing game and most popular free game.
Go outside right now, and there's a good chance that you'll see people walking around, staring at their phones, searching for wild Pokemon in Pokemon Go. It's clear that the game is quite popular with mobile gamers, and while we don't have concrete numbers for the Android version yet, we know that Pokemon Go is topping the charts on iOS devices.
As of the time of this writing, Pokemon Go is the top free game on the App Store. More importantly, Pokemon Go is also the iOS App Store's top grossing game, beating mobile juggernauts like Game of War, Candy Crush Saga, and Clash of Clans, and proving that its microtransactions are apparently worth the asking price for fans.
After this initial success, Nintendo probably doesn't regret its decision to invest heavily in Pokemon Go developer Niantic. However, it remains to be seen if Pokemon Go has the staying power of other popular mobile games. Its use of augmented reality and GPS asks players to constantly be walking around outside to play it, which may be unappealing to those that would rather play video games as a way of winding down and relaxing. Others have complained that Pokemon Go kills battery life, which is another flaw that may cause the game to slip from the top of the App Store charts.
It seems like the best way of keeping Pokemon Go at the top of the charts is by updating it with new features. Right now, the game lacks a lot of key Pokemon elements, such as trading, battling friends, and fighting wild Pokemon. With the game already a major moneymaker, it seems likely that Niantic will be quick to flesh out the experience with that kind of content, so fans should be able to expect regular updates for the game moving forward.
If Niantic is able to keep the current set of Pokemon Go players engaged for the long run, it may became one of the biggest mobile games to date. The success it's already had goes to show that Nintendo probably shouldn't have been so cautious letting its franchises come to mobile, and it will be interesting to see if other upcoming Nintendo mobile projects, like Animal Crossing and Fire Emblem, have similar success.
Hopefully future Nintendo mobile gaming projects have a smoother launch than Pokemon Go, though, as the game has had a number of issues since its release. However, Pokemon Go is a hit even with its technical issues, and the game is being played extensively by smartphone owners the world over. Pokemon Go's real test will be staying at the top of the App Store charts in the weeks and months moving forward, and if it achieves that, then expect Nintendo to become even more aggressive in the mobile gaming market.
Pokemon Go is available now for Android and iOS mobile devices.