Some may be inclined to think that Niantic, the company who developed and distributes Pokemon GO, is on the permanent downswing. Those same people might say Pokemon GO is not far from fizzling out completely, giving way to a competitor to rule the mobile gaming scene. As a certain tech giant notes, though, both of those assumptions could not be further from the truth. Not only is Pokemon GO more than likely to undergo a huge resurgence in popularity during the next few months, but it is looking like it will remain a huge force in mobile gaming for years to come.
Forbes points out that a big part of the reason Pokemon GO was so huge during the few weeks after its summer, 2016, release is because of the season. During summer, people, and especially students, want to get out and socialize. They have more time, they are happier to trek around public parks and hiking trails, and, perhaps most in line with Pokemon GO‘s heavily social gameplay, they can spend more time with their friends, who enjoy the same seasonal advantages.
Last summer, Pokemon GO was brand new and was still sparsely featured. Niantic was actually still tweaking many of the game’s important systems like its tracking abilities after release, much to the ire of fans. In fact, some Pokemon GO players like Reddit user Dripsauce speculate that Niantic probably rushed the release of Pokemon GO because it knew its player base in summer would be much larger than in winter.
The point is, Pokemon GO was pretty “beta” last summer compared to where it is now. When players come flocking back during the days of hot weather and (in the case of some) no school, they will be impressed by how much more polished and fully-functioning the game is, and that will persuade them to dedicate more time to playing.
Many more big updates are on the way too, Niantic has confirmed, via BGR, and it would be a huge surprise if they did not hit in time for this summer’s influx.
Pokemon GO‘s cleaner gameplay is not the only thing Niantic has in store for this summer’s inevitable returning players, though. They have also been withholding the legendaries from generations one and two, the Forbes story notes. This includes Zapdos, Moltres, Articuno, Mewtwo, Mew, Lugia, Ho-oh, Suicune, Enkei, Raikou, and Celebi.
Birmingham Mail reported several days ago that John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO, wants to release the legendary Pokemon during 2017, and it would only make sense for that point to be during the summer. For the Pokemon GO players who took up the game last summer, even the ones who filled up their Pokedexes with all the Pokemon that could be caught at the time, the legendaries would be a strong draw to complete their collections.
That draw would only be strengthened if capturing said legendaries was made into an engaging new social experience. Tassi postulates that the opportunities to catch the legendaries might be organized in group effort events called “raids” in which an entire throng of Pokemon Go trainers must participate. It would probably be something like what was shown in the original “Mewtwo in times square” Pokemon GO ad shown below.
Pokemon GO will not just rise this summer and then fade away, either. As Tassi says, it really has no competition. There is nothing even remotely like Pokemon GO on the market except for cut-rate and low-budget knock-offs. Why, you may ask, would no other big developer take it upon itself to produce a fully-featured geolocation hunting app that could rival Pokemon GO? After all, Niantic’s app is still extremely lucrative, even if it is not yet back at the heights it was shortly after release.
The reason no other developer has really tried is because developing an app that interactively maps out almost literally the entire world is really daunting. It took Niantic years to develop Ingress, the predecessor geolocation app that laid the groundwork for Pokemon GO. It took even more time to work in Pokemon, a globally recognizable brand. And during all that time, no similar apps emerged. So unless some developer has been working on a geolocation gaming app in secret for years, that means Niantic got a huge head start on the competition. Which in turn means that Pokemon GO will remain the only app of its kind out there for at least a few more years.
Are you still playing Pokemon GO? If so, what do you see in its future. And if not, do you plan to pick it up again this summer? Make yourself heard in the comments section below!
And, as always, train on, Pokemon fans.
[Featured Image by Wachiwit/iStock]