Let's look at whether Pokemon Go is shutting down.


Is Pokemon Go Shutting Down?

Nutan Lele
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Pokemon Go launched in 2016 and is available globally.
With dwindling player numbers, fans are worried about the future of the game,
Let's look at whether Pokemon Go is shutting down.

Since its launch in 2016, Pokemon Go has gained a global following. The game is currently available in regions including the Americas, most of Asia, Africa and Europe. Despite what sparked a frenzy dubbed “Pokemania” taking over the world, the craze for the game seems to have slowly tapered off. For a game that relies on AR tech and going outside, the pandemic did not have a significant impact on the game’s revenue. However, player numbers have remained low, falling some three years later. This has lead many to worry about Pokemon Go shutting down. 

Pokemon Go fails to recreate launch success

After 2016, Pokémon Go dropped to its lowest levels of activity with 65 million users. That rose to 133 million in 2018, but has steadily decreased to 71 million in 2021. Global downloads fell sharply after launch, going from  228 million to an average of 14.1 million new downloads since mid 2017 but a drop was to be expected as the launch hype died down. Pokemon Go has an average monthly player count of 78.3 million in the last 30 days according to website Activeplayer.io. The game remains quite popular in the United States, UK, South Korea and other European countries

Pokemon Go saw higher revenue despite players being forced to stay indoors during the pandemic.

While millions still play daily, the game has struggled to recapture its early success. User numbers are way down since that early peak and long-time fans are unhappy with the recent changes. However, there is no indication that Pokémon Go will shut down anytime soon. Even though Niantic has faced backlash recently, the title continues to be highly profitable and popular, so it is highly unlikely that Niantic will shut it down.

While Niantic is scaling back, announcing layoffs, game shutdowns, and the closure of its Los Angeles studio. This seems to be to narrow down its focus on Pokemon Go, according to the developer. Sensor Tower data for June 2022 shows that the game has earned about $1 billion in revenue per year. The game's creator John Hanke says the game is "definitely going very strong" to BBC Newsbeat

In a blog post on 30th March talking about the Remote Raid changes, the company said, “We feel this is a necessary step toward our goal of preserving and improving the unique experience of playing Pokémon GO—a game we hope you continue to enjoy long into the future.”

Niantic looks towards an AR future

Despite the many game shutdowns, Niantic believes "in augmented reality as the future form factor for computing,” Hanke said the company is also keeping an eye on mixed reality devices like the Meta Quest Pro and Apple Vision Pro, which he says are “an intermediate stepping stone to true outdoor AR devices. Those are the kinds of devices that we're leaning into because they're devices you can use when you're out for a walk and with your friends, and they don't get in your way". Hanke predicts that "2024 is going to be a breakthrough year for AR", especially as it converges with artificial intelligence (AI).

He says Niantic is looking to deploy this in Pokémon Go to deepen the interplay between its real and virtual elements. The company hopes to launch an AI-powered feature next year that will allow the creatures to be "situated in the environment and respond to things in the environment in a realistic way". Moving forward, Niantic’s “top priority” is to “keep Pokémon Go healthy and growing as a forever game,” according to Hanke.

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Nutan is experienced with content across various FPS, MOBA, and BR titles for both PC and mobile gaming. Basically, she's a Jill of all trades. As the former captain of an all-woman esports team, her roots lie firmly in PC gaming but she does enjoy that one map in Call of Duty: Mobile.

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