How 'Pokémon Go' achieved a record year despite the coronavirus
While it's natural to think that Pokémon have hibernated in 2020 due to the health crisis and lockdowns, they were there, and so were the players.
- Pokemon Go, a game from Niantic, was launched in 2016. At the heart of its gameplay, there is exploration, interaction with reality, the social bond with other players.
- Even though these features were impacted by containment and travel restriction measures, that did not prevent the game from having a record year in 2020.
- "We had to adapt, adjust, the gaming experience to new living conditions in the world," 20 Minutes. Concretely, this means that the hatching of the eggs was accelerated, that raids could be kept at a distance, or that very short movement was taken into account. Philip Marz, Product Marketing Manager at Niantic for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa region, explains to
"But it still exists Pokémon Go lol?" This cry from the heart - and this boomer "lol" - comes from a colleague for whom the Pokémon Go phenomenon never survived its launch year, in 2016. While it is true that Niantic's game has experienced a slump ( and getting old? ), it came back stronger than ever and signed a record year in 2019. We would quickly have thought that with the health crisis and the confinements, 2020 was going to be a year in decline, in parentheses. However, Pokémon Go has done even better and exceed the billion dollars in revenue. How is that possible, even though people were locked in their homes?
"We had to adjust the playing experience to the new living conditions"
“Our first decision was to ensure the safety of the players,” explains Philip Marz, Product Marketing Manager at Niantic for Europe, Middle East, and Africa. We have hundreds of millions of users around the world, and we take responsibility for them. It was, therefore, necessary to cancel or repel all mass regroupings, such as special raids or the Safari Zone in Saint-Louis, Liverpool, and Philadelphia. The decisions on the game itself came next."
At the heart of Pokemon Go gameplay, there is exploration, interaction with reality, the social bond with other players. Features that inevitably suffered the impact of Covid. If some have thrown in the towel, or put the application on standby, others, many others, have hung on, helped, and rewarded, by the changes made by Niantic."We had to adapt, adjust, the playing experience to the new conditions, and sometimes restrictions, of life in the world," explains Philip Marz. Especially since the coronavirus did not evolve in the same way according to the regions, the countries. This had to be taken into account in order to provide a comprehensive response."
These are the Pokémon that find you
It was more gifts, more virtual and global events, eggs that hatch faster, ranged raids, longer incense, reduced distances or even taking into account very short trips. “For example, you are at home and you clean, your steps are counted and have a real, positive impact on the game,” comments the marketing manager. The individual experience has been enhanced. At the origin of Pokémon Go, it is about finding and catching Pokémon, there are the Pokémon who find you. You can stay at home and enjoy the game. ”
Pokémon Go is therefore becoming a game "like the others"? "Oh no no," Philip Marz reacts. We noticed that the majority of the players continued to walk, if not to walk more. They made Pokémon Go part of their daily, confined routine. It has become something positive, fun to do, with a real impact on morale. Didn't the whole world jog during the first lockdown? The Pokémon Go community was thus very invested in 2020, and Niantic has already planned to retain them in 2021 for the 25 years of the license.