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The Billion-Dollar Phenomenon: Inside the Revenue Success of Pokmon Go

Pokmon Go, a mobile video game created by Niantic Inc., has taken the globe by storm. It is an augmented reality game that allows players to catch and train Pokmon, battle in gyms, and explore their surroundings in real life.

In this article, we will explore the mechanics of Pokmon Go, ownership of the game, and many other aspects that will help you gain a better understanding of this phenomenon.

Overview of Pokmon Go

Pokmon Go was launched in 2016, and it quickly became a global craze. The game is based on the Pokmon franchise, which started as a video game series in Japan and later spread throughout the world.

In Pokmon Go, players have to walk around the real world to catch virtual creatures called Pokmon. They can track and find Pokmon in specific places that are marked on the games map.

Augmented reality is used to display the Pokmon on the players screen, making it look like they are in the real world. This technology allows players to interact with their environment and immerse themselves in the game, unlike any other video game out there.

The game has a stunning variety of monsters to capture, with each having its own strengths and weaknesses. The goal of Pokmon Go is to catch as many Pokmon as possible and train them to become the strongest and most competitive team.

Mechanics of Pokmon Go

Pokmon Go has several mechanics that make it a fascinating and competitive game. One of the critical mechanics is battling, where players use their Pokmon to fight other players in gyms.

These gyms, which are located in real-world locations such as parks and landmarks, serve as arenas where players can participate in one-on-one or team battles. There are more than 780 kinds of Pokmon currently available in Pokmon Go, each possessing its own unique attacks, special abilities, and strengths.

Players can evolve the Pokmon they catch by feeding them candies, which they collect by catching more members of the same species. Legendary Pokmon, rare and powerful creatures, are a vital part of the game.

They are difficult to catch and add to a players Pokmon collection. Once a player has caught all the legendary Pokmon, they are considered to have completed the game.

However, legendary Pokmon are only available during special events, making it challenging for players to catch them. Niantic Inc.

Niantic Inc. is a San Francisco-based game developer and the creator of Pokmon Go. The company was founded in 2010 as an internal startup within Google.

It later went on to become a separate entity. John Hanke, the founder and CEO of Niantic, has a long history in the gaming industry.

He previously worked with Google on geo-location technologies and was a co-founder of Keyhole, which was acquired by Google. Investment by Google, Nintendo, and The Pokmon Company Group

When Niantic Inc.

began working on Pokmon Go, they received a $20 million investment from three major players: Google, Nintendo, and The Pokmon Company Group. This investment was part of a Series A funding round that valued Niantic at $110 million.

Google’s involvement was significant, as they shared their knowledge of Google Maps and Google Earth with Niantic.


Pokmon Go is a compelling and innovative game that has captured the attention of millions worldwide. It has introduced innovative ways of using technology to create memorable experiences for players.

With Niantic continuing to develop new content and features, the games success will undoubtedly continue to grow.

Revenue Streams of Pokmon Go

Pokmon Go has made a significant amount of revenue since its launch, and it has different revenue streams. These revenue streams include selling digital goods, advertising, events, and hardware.

In this article, we will explore each of these revenue streams in detail.

Selling Digital Goods

Pokmon Go offers in-game currency called PokCoins that can be used to buy various digital goods. Players can purchase PokCoins with real money, then use them to buy items such as remote raid passes, incense, and lucky eggs.

A remote raid pass allows players to join raids from a distance without having to be physically present at the location. Incense attracts Pokmon to the player’s location, increasing the chances of catching Pokmon.

Lucky eggs increase the player’s chances of getting double the experience points for 30 minutes. These digital goods offer significant advantages in the game and allow players to make faster progress.


Niantic Inc. has partnered with several companies to place sponsored locations in the game.

Sponsored locations are real-world businesses or locations that offer in-game benefits such as lures that attract more Pokmon. The businesses that have partnered with Niantic include McDonald’s, AT&T, and Gucci.

Niantic also introduced sponsored balloons, which are virtual hot air balloons that appear in the game and can be sponsored by different companies. This type of advertising offers significant advantages, as it encourages players to visit businesses in the real world.


Pokmon Go hosts various events that offer in-game benefits such as double experience points, increased Pokmon spawns, and new Pokmon. These events have been successful in generating revenue from ticket sales.

In 2021, Niantic introduced the Pokmon Go Tour: Kanto, a paid ticketed event. The event allowed players to catch all original 151 Pokmon from the Kanto region in one day, and it was hosted in different regions around the world.

Last year, Niantic also hosted a Las Vegas event where players could participate in various activities and challenges.

Events such as these provide players with unique experiences and offer opportunities to meet other players.


Niantic has also released hardware such as the Pok Ball Plus and the Pok wristband device, which feature Bluetooth connectivity and allow players to catch Pokmon without using their smartphone. The Pok wristband device can also track physical activity, making it an effective fitness device.

These devices offer convenience for players and add additional revenue streams for Niantic.

Pokmon Go Business Model

The Pokmon Go business model is known as the freemium model. Freemium is a business model in which the game is free to play, but players can purchase additional features or boosted progress for real money.

In this section, we will explore the key components of the freemium model as it relates to Pokmon Go.

Freemium Model

The freemium model is a commonly used business model in the gaming industry. It offers the ability to attract a large number of players by allowing them to play the game for free.

Players can then make purchases within the game to enhance or speed up their progress. The freemium model has been successful in generating revenue for Pokmon Go, as players are willing to spend money to advance their gameplay.

Advantages of

Freemium Model

The freemium model offers several advantages, including increased user growth, engagement, and community building. By offering the game for free, Niantic was able to attract a large number of players, creating a significant user base.

The game’s freemium model also promotes engagement, as players are more likely to invest both time and money into the game. The community-building aspect of freemium is also key, as players can team up with friends or join communities to complete challenges or take part in raids.

Monetization Strategies

Niantic has three main monetization strategies for Pokmon Go: advertising, events, and digital goods. As mentioned earlier, sponsored locations are a significant advertising strategy for Pokmon Go. The game’s events, such as the Pokmon Go Tour, offer an attractive source of revenue.

Digital goods, such as remote raid passes, incense, and lucky eggs, offer players a way to enhance their gameplay and generate revenue for Niantic.

Potential Challenges

One of the significant potential challenges of the freemium model is ensuring that paid progression does not skew the balance of the game. Niantic has attempted to address this by balancing the use of digital goods within the game.

Additionally, as Pokmon Go is frequently played by minors, Niantic faces compliance challenges, including legal restrictions on in-app purchases for minors.


The freemium model, combined with various revenue streams such as selling digital goods, advertising, events, and hardware, has been successful for Pokmon Go in generating revenue. By offering the game for free, Niantic has built a substantial user base.

Tapping into additional revenue streams has allowed Niantic to generate a sizable revenue for the game. As Niantic continues to expand the game and introduce new features, we can expect its revenue streams to continue to grow.

Revenue of Pokmon Go

Pokmon Go has been an incredibly successful game, with its unique combination of augmented reality and social gameplay. In this section, we will explore the revenue of Pokmon Go, including private company disclosures and estimated revenue.

Private Company Disclosure

As a private company, Niantic does not disclose precise revenue figures, making it challenging to determine the exact revenue of Pokmon Go. However, the company has released information regarding its overall success. In February 2017, Niantic announced that the game had surpassed $1 billion in revenue, just seven months after its launch.

In addition, in a February 2021 interview with The New York Times, CEO John Hanke stated that Pokmon Go had generated billions of dollars in revenue since its launch. He did not provide exact numbers but did mention that the game has tens of millions of active players on a monthly basis.

Estimated Revenue

While exact revenue figures are not available, there have been several estimates based on public information and data analysis. In this section, we will explore some of these estimates.

After its initial launch in July 2016, Pokmon Go experienced a significant surge in revenue. However, it then went through a slump, with revenue dropping significantly after the initial hype.

Nevertheless, the game eventually recovered from the slump and began to perform much better. In 2019, a Sensor Tower report estimated that Pokmon Go had made $894 million globally.

In 2020, that number increased to $1.2 billion, according to an estimate by SimilarWeb. The impact of Covid-19 played a significant role in this increase, as people worldwide were forced to stay indoors, leading to a surge in mobile gaming.

The success of Pokmon Go is not just limited to the mobile gaming industry. The game’s iconic status makes it a sought-after partner for other entities, including Pokmon Centers and theme parks.

According to a Forbes report, the game played a significant role in increased attendance at the Pokmon Center in Tokyo, with sales in the store increasing by 20% when compared to the previous year’s figures. The theme park partnership was similarly successful, with attendance at Universal Studios Japan increasing by 12%, following the opening of the Pokmon-themed area.


Overall, the revenue of Pokmon Go has been significant, with the game generating billions of dollars since its launch. While exact figures are not available, estimates suggest that the game has generated roughly $1.2 billion in 2020 alone, owing to Covid-19’s impact.

With Niantic continuing to release new content and develop additional features, such as the recent introduction of Mega Evolution, it is unlikely that the popularity of the game will decrease any time soon. The iconic status of the game also makes it an attractive partner for other entities, such as theme parks and stores, further contributing to its revenue.

In conclusion, Pokmon Go has proven to be a massive success, generating significant revenue through its various streams. While exact figures remain undisclosed, estimates suggest that the game has earned billions of dollars since its launch.

The freemium business model, combined with selling digital goods, advertising, events, and hardware sales, has contributed to its financial success. The game’s recovery from an initial slump, increased performance, and the impact of Covid-19 have further fueled its revenue growth.

Pokmon Go’s innovative use of augmented reality and its ability to bring people together in real-world settings have made it an iconic and highly profitable game. As Niantic continues to expand and introduce new features, the game is poised for ongoing success and continued financial growth.

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