Things weren’t looking too good for Nintendo at the start of the year. The company announced that profits were down in 2015 compared to the year before, and sales of both the Wii U and 3DS had declined during the Christmas period. But now the Japanese firm is enjoying some good times, all thanks to Pokémon Go.
The augmented reality game that requires players to hunt down and capture Pokémon in real world environments is proving to be a huge hit. It’s already become the number one Free and Top Grossing application in Apple's US app store.
Thanks to its microtransactions – the most expensive of which is $99.99 - and the optional $35 Pokémon Go Plus accessory, the game is currently making more money ($1.6 million) than heavy hitters such as Mobile Strike, Game of War, and Candy Crush Saga.
The big question will be whether players stick around. Miitomo, Nintendo’s first mobile game, was hugely successful when first launched, but people quickly became bored and many users abandoned it. However, Pokémon Go does have the advantage of an already established fanbase, and it's a much more engaging game than Miitomo, which is more of a social/communications app.
Darwin Police Station in northern Australia recently put out warning on its Facebook page stating that while it did feature as a Pokéstop, people didn’t need to enter the station to get the Pokéballs. The message also warned players to look away from their phones when crossing the street.
News of the game’s success caused Nintendo’s shares to rise 10 percent to their highest level in two months, giving the company a market value of around $23 billion.