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Pokémon GO

Zero to 21 million users

Topping Candy Crush and Clash of Clans, corks were popping at the Nintendo HQ as Pokémon GO officially became the biggest mobile game (by user count) in US history.

Rocketing to the number one position in all the app stores it appeared in was only the start - within days of its release, Pokémon GO had amassed more daily users than Twitter, earning millions of dollars per day for Nintendo.

The previous number one game was Candy Crush Saga, with 20 million daily active users.

Even more amazing is that it has never been featured in either Apples App Store or Googles Play Store.

And it's not over by a long shot - Pokémon GO now has Snapchat and even Google Maps in its sights.

Apple: Most downloaded app in its first week ever

Apple said Pokémon GO has has the most first week downloads ever. It easily beat Facebook in the crucial "app hours per day" metric:

 
hours spent in pokemon go
 
The Pokémon GO phenomenon is a graphic illustration of app discovery becoming more social. As smartphone users have become more sophisticated, they are aware of what their devices are capable of and don't necessarily go to the apps stores not knowing what they want, as was the case early on. Users are seeing trends created by other users, not marketing companies, and in so joining in serve to amplify that trend to other users.

But where did it come from?

Keen internet users are familiar with Googles annual April fools pranks, where such gems as the YouTube ASCI video bandwidth saver, the animal translator and something back in 2014 involving Google Maps (yes really!):

Google went on to launch Ingress, a "more serious" augmented reality game, whilst John Hanke, who was at Google at the time, since split and became the CEO of Niantec, the developer of Pokémon GO.

The history

Although it's true Pokémon GO was a massive smash from the day it was launched, there was significant work in its development which could be traced back for years. As already mentioned, the developers were at Google at the time and were able to make use of the colossal Google Earth and Ingress data sets built up at that point, in fact the Poké Gyms were partly seeded from Ingress data, and from Field Trip, an app which again was developed at Google and sent alerts when the user was near to a site of historical interest.

In late 2015 Hanke said the design goals for Pokémon GO were to get people out exercising and "see the world with new eyes".

In the staged (by country) roll out beginning in July 2016, there were so many users in the other countries not getting it that users stared side loading it, and crashed the already huge servers in the data centres supporting the back end.

It now has 100 million users worldwide and counting. Niantic say they plan on developing the game further for years to come, with new features such as in game trading and even hardware support such as bluetooth enabled wrist worn devices issuing nearby Pokémon alerts.