The app was aided by a strong December, which saw global player spending on the App Store and Google Play exceed $75 million, Sensor Tower said. That’s a 32% increase compared to the $57.2 million spent during December 2017.
“Pokémon Go” players in the U.S. spent an estimated $262 million last year, representing 33% of all gross revenue. Japanese players accounted for about 30% of gross revenue at $239 million — a 25% increase compared to 2017.
Niantic engaged and grew its player base in 2018 via a number of new features and content. It launched one of “Pokémon Go’s” most-requested features — trainer vs. trainer battles — in December. It also helped Nintendo introduce a new Mythical Pokémon called Meltan in September and introduced two new social features — Pokémon trading and friendships — over the summer. Those last two helped increase activity on the app by at least 35% in less than three months, Niantic said. More than 113 million people reportedly made friends in-game during that period, and more than 2.2 billion gifts were exchanged.
“Pokémon Go” has now earned a total of $2.2 billion in lifetime revenue since its launch in 2016, Sensor Tower said. It predicts a good 2019 as well if “Pokémon Go” continues to maintain its current level of success.
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“Should Niantic continue to engage its player base to the degree it did in 2018, it’s possible we’ll see the game surpass $3 billion in lifetime revenue by the end of 2019,” it said.