Free-to-play augmented reality game PokémonGO saw a resurgence towards the end of 2017, dominating Apple's App Store sales chart right after the release of the AR+ mode.
First released in the summer of 2016, Pokémon GO immediately became a world-wide hit, forcing people to go out of their houses, interact with each other while trying to nab the cute critters supposedly loitering around. But because of Niantic Labs failure to significantly progress the game in a way that it does not feel redundant, players also quickly lost interest with its user-rate steadily dropping week after week after its popularity peaked.
A report from Apple's official website delivers the news that Pokémon GO has reclaimed the top spot of the App Store charts on December 21 in light with the roll-out of the brand new and improved augmented reality feature of the free-to-play title. Exclusively accessible to iOS 11-compatible devices, the AR+ mode takes advantage of Apple's ARKit which offers players a more authentic experience in playing the game like walking closely to the creature and see how they look like in real world.
The last week of 2017 was also a big hit for Apple in general as it generated over $890 million on apps or purchases within apps from December 24 to December 31, 2017. On New Years Day alone, consumers spent a whopping $300 million, easily surpassing last year's record of $290 million on January 1, 2017. In a statement, Phil Schiller, the tech giant's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing could not be happier with the additional revenue, although traditionally, December is the App Store’s biggest sales month:
“We are thrilled with the reaction to the new App Store and to see so many customers discovering and enjoying new apps and games. We want to thank all of the creative app developers who have made these great apps and helped to change people’s lives. In 2017 alone, iOS developers earned $26.5 billion — more than a 30 percent increase over 2016.”
It is still curious whether Niantic will be able to resurrect the massive interest in Pokémon GO with the the latest update that surely adds more fun in playing the game. Over the course of last year, the developer has rolled out several special events (including an anniversary gathering) and even the release of its accessory, the Pokemon Go Plus. But there are previous fans who have soured on the title due to persistent glitches, and shallow game play, not to mention several recorded accidents while playing the title.