Niantic Labs has us all abuzz with its Pokémon Go phenomenon. This mobile gaming augmented reality experience has crossed all age and gender lines and is reaching into the mass market, according to the latest data from analytics firms Taykey and Qualtrics.
Since its U.S. launch on July 6, the app has been downloaded many millions of times, surpassing Tinder in downloads and Twitter in daily active users. (John Hanke, CEO of Niantic, will speak at our GamesBeat 2016 conference about the game).
Everyone is racing to understand it. Taykey said that online conversation data made it clear that momentum had begun to build for the game in June when Nintendo confirmed the app’s July release during its livestream at the influential Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) trade show.
Online conversation volume surrounding the Pokémon brand rose 2,897 percent in June (as compared to monthly average for January through May). Word of mouth surrounding the official launch of the app in July propelled the Pokémon brand further into the mainstream as conversation volume increased another 606 percent over the month of June.
Taykey said that an even more powerful indicator of the breakthrough nature of Pokémon Go is the success of the app in appealing to new audiences. Between June and July, Taykey saw a “massive shift in the demographic profile of people talking about the Pokémon franchise.”
Prior to the launch of the app, people talking about the brand online were consistently male (80 percent) and teenagers (40 percent). Since the explosion this month, the online audience has changed dramatically. Fans are now split evenly with regard to gender, and 25-34 year-olds have emerged as the predominant age group.
Taykey said that the buzz will keep growing because of a regular stream of trending headlines around the latest player antics in their pursuit to catch them all. Meanwhile, Qualtrics, an enterprise customer experience firm, ran a survey of 750 Pokémon Go players in the U.S. It found that on average, these players are spending almost two more hours per day outside than they previously did. Sixteen percent of them play for more than four hours a day. Over 10 percent say they have trespassed to catch a Pokémon. Four percent said they have been pulled over by police while playing.
Players are waiting for the opportunity to battle each other. Forty-three percent say they have lost weight while playing. Of that group, the average amount of weight lost is 3.2 pounds. Forty-four percent of trainers said they visited a historical landmark for the first time because of the game. Twenty-four percent said they have visited a religious institution for the first time, and 35 percent said they have never played Pokémon before.
But there’s still some stigma around playing. Eighteen percent of trainers said they would be embarrassed to tell their friends that they play. Twenty-two percent would be embarrassed to tell their family. Thirty-eight percent of people would be embarrassed to tell their boss. And 21 percent of trainers would rather play Pokémon Go than have sex. Data suggests that up to 85 percent of trainers have played while driving a car.