Man at His Best

Here's How Huge Pokémon Go Has Become In Less Than One Week

You can stop rolling your eyes now.

BY MEGAN FRIEDMAN | Jul 12, 2016 | Technology

If you're a person under, say, 35, or even a person who follows a person under 35 on social media, chances are you've heard of Pokémon Go. Launched in the United States last week, Pokémon Go is an app based on the hit Nintendo game from the '90s, and is the reason you see roving bands of Woke Millennials congregate in certain spots, smartphones in hand.

It's so big that criminals are already targeting people glued to their phones, and a teenager even found a body in Wyoming while hunting for Pokémon.

But don't just dismiss this as a thing "the youngs" are doing. The game is already making money for Nintendo, and it's now a bona fide cultural phenomenon.

1 | It's already bigger than Tinder

Yes, people would rather catch Pokémon than pick up a date. CNET reports that in just one day, Pokémon Go was downloaded on more Android smartphones than Tinder, and in two days, it was on more than five percent of all Android devices in America. Data for iOS devices isn't available yet, but it's safe to say those numbers are pretty similar for all smartphones that can run the app.

2 | And it's coming for one of the world's biggest social networks

According to IGN, Pokémon Go is about to overtake Twitter when it comes to daily active users on Android. This is a little bit of an unfair estimate, since people can access Twitter on desktops as well, but Pokémon Go has social elements that Twitter can't touch, like actually encouraging people to leave the house and, perhaps, meet people who are also playing the game.

3 | It's making Nintendo stock worth billions more

The Verge reports that the share price of Nintendo went up by 24.52 percent on Monday, which makes the Japanese company worth $7.5 billion more than it was last week. It was their best stock day since 1983. Nintendo is an investor in Niantic, the company that built the game, and the Pokémon Company, which gets slightly less than a third of the company's revenue.

The game currently makes money from microtransactions, meaning its profits come from users who spend money to get extra objects and perks in the game. Experts say the game likely made anywhere from $3.9 million to $4.9 million on the first day it was out, but of course, those numbers likely will decrease at some point. For Nintendo to make good money from this deal, the game will have to churn out $140 million to $196 million every month.

4 | It's getting people to exercise

Pokémon Go actually encourages its users to walk around and get actual exercise. Other than, say, Dance Dance Revolution, most games encourage the opposite. With Pokémon Go, you have to go outside to catch Pokémon, and you can also help eggs "incubate" and hatch new Pokémon by walking a certain distance while the app is open. The strategy is working: Gizmodo reports that users are reporting sore legs from walking or riding their bikes for hours trying to catch Pokémon.

5 | It's a major marketing opportunity

TechCrunch notes that the game doesn't yet offer marketing opportunities for real-life companies, but they'd be stupid not to give it a try. Users have to travel to "Pokéstops" to pick up equipment, or "gyms" to battle with other users, and those are in specific locations. Previously, app maker Niantic worked with the Bank of Tokyo to make its ATMs "portals" in the game Ingress, so get ready for every McDonald's in America to become a Pokéstop pretty soon.

6 | It could change the way games are created, forever

OK, maybe not so fast on this one. But Pokémon Go has become the subject of dozens of thinkpieces about the future of gaming. When you catch a Pokémon, you catch it with your camera providing the background, using a technology called augmented reality. Some game developers are going all in on virtual reality games that require you to strap on an expensive set of high-tech goggles to play. But perhaps all that's necessary is a smartphone, a GPS, and a high dose of '90s video game nostalgia to produce a hit.

From: Esquire US.