As a level 40 player, I have to ask if Pokémon Go is a sustainable platform with its current gameplay and mechanics. It is one of the best AR games on any platform, and with the release of ARKit and ARCore we have AR Plus to play with.
With similar games being released like Jurassic World Alive, and other games getting into the AR scene such as Ticket to Earth, I have to ask myself if the game in its current state will continue to enjoy its success without pushing further.
While Pokémon Go is constantly improving; adding new Pokémon for us to catch with each Generation, adding regular events to release shiny forms, and throwing in the occasional curve ball (Alolan forms anyone?), the core of the game is unchanged.
Will there be change?
We have been advised (via the now famous PokemonDoctorYT flight interview) that the level cap will be raised from 40 and that Player-vs-Player (PvP) is on the horizon. Certainly trading has been mentioned before this, but it does not fundamentally alter the fact that the core mechanic of the game is unchanged.
Conceptualists, like myself, are constantly looking to see what could be added to the game to keep things fresh, easy to play, but without loosing the core theme. Ysmael recently posted on the Hub about QoL improvements and numerous streamers have suggested how they see fun things can be added to the game, keeping the player base catching them all and spending Pokécoins.
Glory Days are past?
We all remember the days of large crowds of people running to catch a rare spawn, and I think the hype that drove these images is past with the current gameplay. Add something fresh to the mix though and I do not think its unrealistic to think these days are behind us. While this was probably not the safest message to portray, stick a wild Regigigas in a park and we may see this type of large scale swarm again.
So, we ask is the game sustainable? Well the game generates a lot in revenue daily, back in 2016 it was published that Niantic was earning in the region of $2m a day, that’s a lot of Pokécoin. In 2018 the daily revenue is estimated at ~$675,000 on iOS alone, which is no small pocket change.
Do we see the game slowing down? No. Do we see it picking up? Almost certainly with the release of Generation 4. All games are about peeks-and-troughs, however is the release of “more of the same” enough to retain the average player? That is a true question.
My own view is that Niantic have only scratched the surface of what can be done with Pokémon Go. If they want to stay ahead of the competition like JWA or their own Harry Potter Game, they need to add new dimensions. The main franchise, as well as numerous spin off titles, offer a huge back-catalog of ideas which could be drawn upon.
So what do we have to look forward too?
- Generation 4 will add 100+ new Pokémon.
- Community days and events will keep adding shiny forms.
- Increased player cap will renew the race to level up
- PvP, we hope, will add something other than a clone of the current gym system.
- New 5* Pokemon: Registeel, Regice, and Regirock
What could we have to look forward too?
The below are currently absent from released generations, could they be part of an unannounced event or another release wave
- Missing Pokémon: Smeargle
- Missing Pokémon: Spinda
- Missing Pokémon: Nincada, Ninjask and Shedinja
- Missing Pokémon: Kecleon
- Missing Pokémon: Clamperl, Gorebyss, and Huntail
These Pokémon are almost certainly coming to our screens, will be interesting to see what arrives first, and in what form.
- New EX or Quest Pokémon: Celebi
- New EX or Quest Pokémon: Deoxys
- New EX or Quest Pokémon: Jirachi
But is this more of the same, is it enough?
The Conceptualists among us will always throw mud at the wall, and maybe something will stick and catch the developers eye.
With the game nearing its 2nd anniversary, I believe that those of us still playing now will continue to play, and generate revenue. If similar games (with and without AR) enter the scene, with the same scope for longevity, we may see a decline unless Niantic can offer something fresh.
Here’s hoping Niantic is listening. Expanding content beyond the current game, can only enhance the game for both the solo player and the overall community.