Pokémon Go creator teases updates coming later this year
The creator of Pokemon Go offered tantalizing news on Tuesday—but few real details—for fans of the mobile gaming phenomenon.
The game, which has been downloaded more than 650 million times, just received a major update called “Generation 2,” two weeks ago, which added 80 new Pokemon monsters for players to seek. But three more updates are on the way later this year, according to John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, the Google spinoff that created the game for Nintendo.
Players have been eagerly awaiting a promised feature to let them trade Pokemon, but it didn’t arrive with Generation 2. Hanke gave no details about the upcoming versions, and took no questions from the audience during an appearance at the Mobile World Congress telecommunications trade show in Barcelona.
Niantic will also release a whole new version of its earlier sci-fi themed mobile game Ingress, Hanke teased, again without giving details. And there may be even bigger news to come about all new games.
“We’ll be launching a new version of our original game, Ingress, later this year and we have some other projects that unfortunately I can’t talk about today,” Hanke said. “They’ll be coming down the pike.”
Hanke wowed the audience in Barcelona with facts and figures about the runaway success of Pokemon Go, which was the top-grossing app in Apple’s iTunes app store for 74 straight days from its U.S. release last July through mid-September.
People playing the game have walked a total of 8.7 billion kilometers (5.4 million miles) while playing, farther than the distance from earth to Pluto, Hanke noted. A total of 88 billion Pokemon monsters have been captured in the game. And players have used a staggering 44 petabytes of mobile data while playing—enough to bust even the biggest data allowance and equal to about 15 times the digital holdings of the Library of Congress.
As he was speaking to a room full of telecommunications and technology executives, Hanke also discussed a bit of the business side of the game. Over 35,000 locations—ranging from Starbucks (SBUX, +0.16%) to Sprint retail stores—paid to become sponsored locations in the game and received a total of 500 million visits from players.
Ingress, Niantic’s earlier game that mapped virtual in-game features onto the real world, was more of a “cult hit,” Hanke said. It was downloaded 200 million times, and its players have walked a total of 344 million kilometers (214 million miles).
All players are divided into one of two factions, and each faction has a logo. Hanke said Niantic was surprised when early on, some players began getting tattoos of the logos.
“People started getting tattoos of the two factions of the game, permanent tattoos, not temporary tattoos,” Hanke said. “Mind you we were still in beta at the time, so everything was still in flux. Those logos could have changed.”