Pokémon GO is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic for iOS and Android devices. It was released in most regions of the world in July 2016. Since its launch, it quickly became a global phenomenon and was one of the most used mobile apps, reportedly having been downloaded by more than 100 million people worldwide. The game is free-to-play, although it supports in-app purchases of additional gameplay items.
Pokémon Go already has a strong customer base, but it’s how they monetize the game that ultimately will be the key to developing an even stronger customer base, and will help decide their fate. Since launching, Pokémon players have been shelling out approximately $1.6M every day for these in-app purchases. Cheap Pokemon Go Account Clearly this is a big score, but it’s not reliable recurring revenue. What happens next week when a new game comes out, or when players have already purchased enough coins to fast-track their way to a full Pokédex? How can Pokémon Go avoid being just another mobile gaming craze-and-fade scenario, and how can the Pokémon Company and Niantic, create a sustainable business model that will keep players coming back — and paying — for more, without corrupting the integrity and spirit of the game?
It seems likely that the answer is subscriptions. And it’s seeming increasingly likely that Pokémon Go could become one of the first mobile game apps to successfully test the potential of selling subscriptions in Apple’s App Store. As announced its most recent World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC), Apple is now permitting subscription sales across all categories, including games. Previously, only specific categories of apps could sell subscriptions — so this is a whole new (Poké)ball game.
Not only is Apple permitting subscriptions, it’s also giving developers incentives to use them: In the first year of an app’s subscription, Apple earns a 70/30 revenue share, but after a year, the new revenue sharing model calls for a revised split of 85/15. Pokémon Go Account A game like Pokémon Go with its huge following seems like it could potentially be a good fit with the subscription model, helping it to parlay Pokémon mania into a longer term customer strategy — one that is based on ongoing relationships and more predictable recurring revenue.
Selling subscriptions could come into play, in various ways. If the game keeps improving, they could offer a blanket subscription for access, pay to play. Ongoing new enhancements and features — rather than simply pay-to-win pricing — would likely be a good draw for this. But offering a subscription doesn’t just have to mean putting a monthly or annual price on playing the game. A better choice may be to introduce a variety of subscription pricing plans that respect the spirit of the game and its subscribers while at the same time successfully monetizing these relationships. There are numerous feature sets that could be priced and packaged in interesting ways.
Although it’s said the game is free-to-play, it still earns a lot of money than your imagination. The players will continue to flock to the game — and spend money on it — while it’s possible the popularity of the app will die down over time. If the Pokémon Company and Niantic want Pokémon Go to be more than just a fad, they need to think about monetizing through subscriptions and having a longer term customer strategy.