The Pokemon Go peak is over, but the game is still on top


The "Pokémon Go" craze may have peaked, but the mobile game is still ridiculously popular.


Popular enough that there are still regular reports of hundreds of people stampeding in search of a Snorlax. Someone was killed just last week in Japan by a driver who admitted to playing "Pokémon Go" while driving.

pokemon go snorlax taiwan taipei


Popular enough that it's still the biggest moneymaker in mobile gaming right now. It's the number one grossing game on Google Play, as well as the iTunes App Store (according to App Annie).

The recent reports of its imminent decline miss several key points, says Niko Partners analyst Daniel Ahmad.


"Pokémon Go" exploded in popularity, and rapidly launched in many countries. It's the fastest downloaded anything on both iPhone and Android. That puts the game into a rare category of mega-hit. Simply put: the kind of user numbers that "Pokémon Go" initially enjoyed are unsustainable. Remember when it had more users than Twitter? That was never going to last.

The tapering off of those record-setting, astronomic numbers is entirely expected. Ahmad described the effect as, "what one would expect when looking at [daily active user] numbers, that the number will decrease over time and begin to level out at a much lower number."

Indeed, that's exactly what the data shows:

Pokemon Go

SurveyMonkey Intelligence

The game spiked in popularity around launch (early July) in the US. It began slowly tapering off around mid-August.

If anything, the strangest part of this chart is the front - where the game goes from unknown to 50 million users in one month. "The game achieved record revenue figures in its first month, higher than that of 'Clash Royale' (the previous record holder)," says Ahmad. "Pokémon Go" is the fastest game to hit 50 million installs on the Google Play store (by a huge margin), and already has more than 100 million installs through Google Play."


Something particularly interesting that this chart demonstrates is how many people are still playing "Pokémon Go." If I'm being honest, I'm not one of those folks - I opened it this morning for the first time in several weeks, and only because I was writing about the game. And I'm less likely these days to see a gaggle of people hanging around the front of my local park battling for control of the Gym.

pokemon go

Mark Kauzlarich/Reuters

But as of August 18, over 40 million people are still actively playing "Pokémon Go," according to SurveyMonkey Intelligence. Another estimate, published by Bloomberg, puts the game at over 30 million users - "a number most mobile games will never reach," Ahmad pointed out.

"Most mobile games will be lucky to retain 50% of their users after the first month. A game that is able to retain 50% of its users after one month is a game that is doing considerably better than the average game, and one that shows it's doing well," he added.

Point being: The decline in "Pokémon Go" users is normal, not indicative of a fad. If anything, the huge number of users one month in shows that the game has staying power.


Pokemon GO Justin Bieber

Chris Snyder / Tech Insider

At the height of Pokémania, we spotted a wild Justin Bieber playing "Pokémon Go" at Manhattan's biggest Pokémon hot spot: Grand Army Plaza.

As Ahmad put it: "Some have noted that the decline in [users] shows the game is a fad, but it doesn't show that at all. Instead the decline is normal, and the decline is not as sharp as the average mobile game would be after one month."

That's before launching in China, the largest mobile games market in the world, or South Korea (the fourth largest). The phenomenon may be over, but "Pokémon Go" continues to dominate as reigning king of the charts on both iPhone and Android.

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