Pokémon GO raked in almost $1 billion in 2016, despite being available for only half of the year.
Niantic’s hit was downloaded over 500 million times in a few short months after making its debut last July, and it made $600 million faster than any other mobile game, according to the experts at App Annie.
Pokémon GO is the first official Pokémon title for mobile that was available worldwide, and its name made it an instant success. Fans all over the world were out in the streets with their smartphones trying to catch their favorite beasts and fill up their Pokédex.
The game even attracted fans who weren’t previously into gaming.
“By attracting millions of non-gamers, it reached a level of success that eludes even some of the most successful traditional video games,” said App Annie in its latest report on app revenues.
“This was thanks to the game’s beloved intellectual property, simple mechanics, real-world augmented reality gameplay, and perhaps most of all, its social nature.”
Despite being a free download, Pokémon GO quickly began earning millions from in-app purchases. At the height of its popularity last August, the game was reportedly earning Niantic a whopping $10 million every single day on Android and iOS.
Perhaps it’s no surprise, then, that between its debut on July 6 and December 31, 2016 (just six months) Pokémon GO earned a staggering $950 billion, according to App Annie. $800 million of that was earned in just 110 days.
“This was far faster than some of the most successful mobile games of all time. To put Pokémon Go’s success in a broader perspective, its global consumer spend in 2016 exceeded the total worldwide box office gross of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice,” App Annie said.
Interest in Pokémon GO seems to have waned in recent months, but Niantic is taking steps to lure players back in, like adding new Pokémon, launching an Apple Watch app, and updating things like gym training. It also plans to add daily and weekly bonuses in the future.
However, it seems unlikely Pokémon GO will be earning any money in China, the world’s biggest smartphone gaming market, any time soon. Earlier this month, the Chinese government refused to license the game, deeming it too dangerous to security.