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Showing results for tags 'niantic'.

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  1. The world is yet to come up with a widely applicable use for augmented reality. While virtual reality gaming has gained a certain level of momentum due to companies like Sony actively encouraging indie Game developers to create VR titles for use with the PS4 and PS5 the same is not true for AR. Yet despite AR not being a mainstream gaming application, there is one mobile-only game that has managed to generate an astounding $5 billion in revenue over its first five years since its launch, Pokémon Go! ✓What Is Pokémon? For newcomers to the world of Pokémon, it is a Japanese franchise owned and operated by gaming legend Nintendo. The world was first introduced to the adorable “pocket monsters” that are collected by Trainers and then used to duel one another in non-lethal Pokémon Battles in 1995. Players would take on the role of a Pokémon Trainer who would wander the world finding, befriending, and training various Pokémon in order to become the “regional Champion” by winning the Pokémon League. Since then, Pokémon has grown to be an international powerhouse comprising dozens of video games, a popular collectable trading card game, an anime series with over 1000 episodes to its credit, a live-action/animation crossover film starring Ryan Reynolds, clothing and toys lines, a multi-billion dollar AR mobile game and even a travelling theme park. ✓Niantic Not Nintendo While Nintendo owns the Pokémon IP and is the main beneficiary of the massive success that the mobile-only AR game has achieved the actual game and its mechanics were conceptualised and developed by Niantic. Here is how they describe what they achieved with Pokémon GO: “We’ve built the world’s only planet-scale augmented reality platform for current and future generations of augmented reality hardware. We think of this platform as a global operating system for applications that unite the digital world with the physical world. We pioneered real-world gaming — adventures on foot with others — which has helped transform the Earth into the new game board.” In 2016 when Niantic unveiled Pokémon GO to the world it was an instant success. The combination of the spellbinding world of Pokémon mixed with this fresh use of AR where you walked around your neighbourhood tracking creatures to catch was intoxicating. While the game is incredibly high-tech and innovative, the gameplay was surprisingly simple. Find a Pokémon, get it on your screen and use your finger to flick, aka throw, a poke ball at it till you manage to catch it. Rinse and repeat. Best of all it is free to play, and you do not need to buy an expensive Nintendo console or VIVE VR headset to play it. All you need to do is download the free app onto your cell phone and you will be collecting Pokémon in minutes. ✓International Appeal Pokémon GO was also released in the sweet spot when mobile technology and internet speeds were peaking. Everyone had access to a tablet or cell phone, and mobile data was commonplace which allowed you to load up the game and play whenever you had a gap. By making it free to play and giving players a reason to stay engaged with the game throughout the day Niantic created a loyal global fan base that has installed the game more than 1 billion times. Unlike other games where installs and active users do not line up a report by Finances Online shows that Pokémon GO fans are dedicated daily players: USA = 827,000 daily users UK = 272,000 daily users Japan = 270,000 daily users Sweden =117,000 daily users Canada = 105,000 daily users When looking at the global player base there is also no real skew towards any sex with 56% of the players being male and 44% being female. With ongoing review, it is highly likely this number will flatten out even closer to 50/50. ✓Player Friendly Monetisation With an average annual income of $1 billion, there is an instinctual inclination to assume that the game must make use of predatory money makers like loot boxes or gacha-themed incentives but that simply is not true. The reality is that Pokémon GO is one of the few games where you can truly get experience everything the augmented reality game has to offer for free. Rather than create loot boxes and using video slot themed monetisation tools Niantic and Nintendo offer a few items for sale in the games store such: Additional Pokéballs Additional Pokémon storage Additional item storage Clothing items for your Trainer However, all these items are fairly cheap in terms of the in-game currency, Gold. For example, additional storage space may cost 200 Gold, but rather than spending real money to buy it you can drop one of your Pokémon at a gym you will earn 50 Gold for “holding” the gym for one day. One of their primary income generators is special events. During events such as the ‘Pokémon GO Fest’ players stand the chance to catch special shiny variants of the events Pokémon and get cosmetic items showing they participated in the event. Tickets to these events usually cost less than $5 and not attending does not negatively impact your gameplay experience. Yet despite this soft sell, no pressure, approach to monetisation fans of the game still spend more than $1 billion a year, proving that creating an engaging experience for your customers is the key to generating revenue. ✓Health Conscious Developer While Pokémon GO always encouraged its players to get out from behind their desks and take their creature hunting on the road Niantic and Nintendo went the extra mile when it came to ensuring that their players could still play during the pandemic. The developer made some helpful quality of life changes to some of the games core mechanics to keep players entertained: They increased the spawn rate of Pokémon in less populated areas so players could make new virtual friends at home. They had enemies fly around in hot air balloons to allow players to battle bosses and win better items and complete quests. They extended the Trainers radius making it easier to trigger Pokéstops from further away to ensure social distancing. They began adding daily free boxes with items and Pokéballs to give players the tools they need to play for free. While they could easily have added a bunch of microtransactions to the shop which their fans would have made use of they chose to not add additional financial stress to players lives and offered all these useful new mechanics for free. ✓Leading the Charge for Mobile Gaming It is interesting to see how mobile casino game developers have responded to the success of mobile games like Pokémon GO and others. When Candy Crush first began to dominate the mobile space, we saw the launch of cluster pays driven mobile slots featuring big square game screens. These games are still popular today with Pragmatic Play having recently launched Gemix 2 using this model. The mobile gaming megalith Clash of Clans spawned its own series of mobile slots built using its premise of base building and pitting competing armies against one another. One of the best examples of this type of mobile slot machine is the SG Digital game Reel Clash. While we have seen the development of several RPG and adventure-themed slot titles what we are yet to see hit the market is a video slot that uses the augmented reality premise of Pokémon GO to allow players the chance to interact with reels and find bonuses by using their phone as a virtual gateway into the world of the casino game. ✓Gotta Catch Em All This is blend of conversation-starting tech wrapped in a model so simple even your grandparents can use it is one of the fundamental development challenges faced by casino companies looking to do new and exciting things in the mobile and AR space. However, with Niantic proving it is possible to create a mobile AR game that generates $1 billion a year from transactions that range from $1 to $5 it is only a matter of time before award-winning developers like NetEnt, Evolution Gaming or Pragmatic Play wow us with an innovative AR casino experience.
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