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.
“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.