What just happened? Pokémon Go might not be making as many headlines as it did at launch, but the mobile title remains popular. Three years after it arrived and took the world by storm, the AR game has just passed an amazing milestone: one billion downloads.
When it was released in the US back in July 2016, Pokémon Go set a new record for the most downloads in its first week. Millions of people around the world were seemingly addicted, with players spending more time on it than Facebook. But there were plenty of negative stories, including criminals using it to lure and rob people at gunpoint, users trashing neighbourhoods and beaches, the disastrous festival, and a reported $2 billion to $7.3 billion in vehicle damage—along with two deaths—linked to the game during its first 148 days.
It was suspected that Pokémon Go was just a fad that would soon die out, much like Nintendo’s Miitomo mobile title, but the game’s Japanese YouTube channel has released a series of videos revealing that it has been downloaded over one billion times.
Over half those downloads came within the first two months of launch, and developer Niantic said it had reached 650 million downloads by February 2017, and 800 million in May 2018, so it's attained over 200 million new downloads in the last 14 months.
This doesn’t mean one billion people are playing Pokémon Go. That figure includes re-downloads, and plenty of players will have given up and deleted the app. Back in May last year, Superdata estimated there were 147 million active users.
In addition to passing that one-billion milestone, Sensor Tower predicts Pokémon Go is set to cross $3 billion in revenue this year.