If you've ever thought for a second that Pokémon GO isn't still the money machine it was back at launch, think again. Last weekend alone, Niantic's genre-defining real-world collecathon game clawed in over £15 million according to Eurogamer and mobile analytics firm Sensor Tower. Its annual Go Fest celebration was the cause for many a consumer to open up their wallets. It goes to show that even five years on, trainers are still very happy to spend their pocket money on pocket monsters.
Despite the looming COVID-19 pandemic (which delayed the latest Pikachu costume release), July 17–18 saw Pokémon trainers the world over descended on their nearest parks, fields, and nature walks; not specifically to enjoy the various heatwaves, but to catch virtual monsters just as they did before the planet went into lockdown.
Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the time when everyone went mad as Pokémon GO launched, its fifth annual GO Fest convinced players to spend exorbitant amounts of money on the tools and tickets they needed to catch the game's cute and cuddly creatures.
Despite offering this year's event tickets for drastically less money than previous years thanks to a Google Play partnership, the title still managed to rope in some serious cash. You can get a good idea of what spurred players into paying out with our Pokémon GO Fest guides, but stats revealed by Niantic itself paints a picture of how the two-day event played out.
Trainers the world over caught 1.5 billion Pokémon and fought in 23 million raids. Though most of the items needed to complete these activities can be earned for free by doing things like spinning PokéStops (of which they did - 900 million, in fact) Pokéballs for capturing and raid passes used to fight more powerful Pokémon can all be bought through the in-game shop for various amounts of real-world money when needed.
It just goes to show that even by spending the last year indoors and away from the original allure of the hit mobile game, players are still very much entranced by the idea of catching Pokémon, and they couldn't wait to get back to it. Not that it stopped them in the first place, though. The game still managed to pull in some serious cash during the various worldwide lockdowns.
Players have been fighting to slow down Niantic's attempts to reduce the game's at-home playability of the game in recent months. By pulling in numbers like that, however, the company could be convinced that players are finally ready to brave the outside world again. Which is largely beside the point when it comes to its more vulnerable and mobility-impaired players.