Pokémon GO Mobile App Downloads, Usage Soar After Game Launch

The new Pokémon game app is already on more U.S. Android devices than established popular apps like Tinder, says a new report.

Pokemon Go, Pokemon, game app, Nintendo, Niantic Labs, SimilarWeb, app downloads, augmented reality, AR games

Since the Pokémon GO game app's July 6 release, it has been downloaded to more than 5.16 percent of all Android phones in the United States, while also engaging the average user for more than 43 minutes per day.

Those numbers mean that Pokémon GO is already on more Android phones than the Tinder dating app and that it is being used more than well-known apps such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and Messenger, according to market intelligence company SimilarWeb.

Pokémon GO, a free app that is available for Android and iOS devices, is proving to be so popular that an unofficial apkmirror.com download site for the app exploded to 4 million visits on July 6, the day the downloads began to be available, from some 600,000 visits on July 5, according to a July 10 post on the SimilarWeb blog by its Digital Insights and Content Manager Joseph Schwartz. "With its augmented-reality platform, Pokémon has been appearing everywhere across America from rivers and lakes to hospital rooms, and users of the app have spent all weekend trying to catch new Pokémon and train them to be the very best," wrote Schwartz.

More than 60 percent of the people who have downloaded the app in the United States are using it daily, which means that about 3 percent of all U.S. Android users are playing the game, he wrote. "This metric, which we refer to as Daily Active Users, has put Pokémon GO neck-and-neck with Twitter, and in a few more days, Pokémon GO will likely have more Daily Active Users than the well-established social network."

So far, the Pokémon GO apps are only available officially in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. The traffic to the apkmirror.com site has come from all over the world, with users in Brazil following U.S. users in downloads of the app, the post continued.

Ari Rosenstein, senior marketing director of SimilarWeb, told eWEEK in an interview that pent-up demand for the mobile game appears to be behind its huge and fast popularity, beginning with users who were just children when Pokémon playing cards were released back in the 1990s. Nintendo GameBoy games followed the cards, as did Pokémon cartoons, and now those children are adults with smartphones, he said.

"It's kind of like the perfect storm," said Rosenstein. "It's hard to tell how long the trend will last. It's never really gone away."

Rosenstein said his whole marketing team is now playing the game and that he personally used it today for about 45 minutes. "I think it proves that augmented reality has a place in popular culture," he said. "The game is the perfect mix of pop culture, the right format, AR and it's kind of an ageless game. It just happened at the right time with technology and everybody has a smartphone now. I really think that the sky is the limit."

The game is so popular that Nintendo's stock jumped as much as 25 percent in Japan following the release of the game apps, according to a July 10 Bloomberg story.

The soaring popularity of the game has added about $7.5 billion to the market value of the company in the two days after its release, according to a July 11 story by Reuters, even though the mobile game is the creation of Google spin-off Niantic and Pokémon Co. Nintendo owns a third of Pokémon Co., and both have stakes in Niantic, the story continued.

The game allows players to discover and capture Pokémon creatures in their neighborhoods and other locations using the AR apps.

Downloads of the games were in such high demand they caused server problems for Niantic, according to a July 8 Twitter post by the company.

Nintendo itself is also in the midst of releasing mobile apps for some of its most popular games, according to an earlier eWEEK story. In March, Nintendo released its first mobile gaming app, Miitomo, for iOS and Android devices.

Nintendo first announced that it would finally be bringing some of its games to mobile devices, including smartphones and tablets, back in March 2015, according to an earlier eWEEK story. Nintendo said, at the time, that it would be joining up with a Japanese mobile gaming company to begin bringing some of its popular video gaming characters to smartphones and tablet computers in an attempt to reignite its sagging business and global sales.

For years, Nintendo resisted bringing its games to small mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, so as not to dilute its gaming console business, but that began to change as the company refocused to seek new ways of retaining and bringing in new customers for its video game titles.

Nintendo helped power the video game console industry starting in 1983, when it launched its original Nintendo Entertainment System. Nintendo has since sold more than 4.3 billion video games and more than 680 million gaming consoles around the world, according to figures that the company provided.