Mario arrives as Pokemon Go peaks, with declining downloads, falling revenue

By Sarah Perez as written on
The phenomenal mobile hit Pokémon Go has peaked, just as the anticipated Nintendo title Super Mario Run hits the App Store, vying for mobile users’ attention and the chance to best Pokémon’s record-breaking numbers. According to new data from App Annie, Pokémon Go has seen declines in both downloads and revenue over the past several months, though it’s still highly ranked because of the massive size of its active user base.
Pokémon Go’s U.S. downloads fell from over 80 million in July 2016 to 1.5 million in November, the firm found in a new analysis of Pokémon Go data. The figures indicate the app is nearing market saturation, as November accounted for only 5 percent of all U.S. downloads for the game since its U.S. debut. (Or, in other words, most of the people who want to play the game, already have it installed.)
Despite the drop, the game was decently ranked at #16 in the U.S. in November, in a ranking of all iOS and Google Play Games downloads combined. For comparison’s sake, however, it was #1 in July.
More importantly, perhaps, is the fact that Pokémon Go’s active users are declining, which, in turn has affected how much revenue the game is pulling in.
Though it still has a sizable audience with 23 million mobile active users in the U.S., that’s down by a little less than a third from July to November. In July, the game saw 66 million monthly actives playing, said App Annie.
When the game launched, U.S. users were spending an hour each day in the game, and now that’s down to 45 minutes per day.
In addition, Pokémon Go has seen its U.S. revenue drop from $125 million in July down to over $15 million in November. This saw it fall from #1 on the combined iOS and Android Games revenue chart to #6 during the same time frame.
The game has tried to juice its declining numbers through special events, like the one it held during Halloween which helped it bring in more revenue than the week prior. App Annie found that the week boosted U.S. revenue by 170% over the previous week, thanks to this event.
It also tried to get players to return with daily bonuses introduced last month. But neither of these initiatives were enough to bring Pokémon Go back to its earlier record numbers.
Of course, earnings and engagement like what Pokémon Go continues to see are something other mobile developers would kill to have. And U.S.-only stats only tell part of the story. But these new figures can help to illustrate where this massive mobile hit may end up leveling off, now that all the hype is winding down. (Expect the Mario hype to take over going forward!)
Pokémon maker Niantic Labs has prepared for the game’s slowing traction, though, and has been moving to monetize the app through other means. This includes the sponsorship deals with businesses like McDonald’s in Japan, Sprint, and most recently, Starbucks. 
“It’s not surprising to see Pokemon Go’s performance peaked after it’s exceptional, record-breaking launch,” notes App Annie SVP of Research, Danielle Levitas. “The heart of the story, however, is that the game’s 23 million monthly active users [U.S.] in November was more than 50% greater than the #2 most popular game,” she adds.
If that’s what Pokémon Go’s peak looks like, it’s not a bad place to be.


Automatic albums, improved search, Pokémon and more updates to the OneDrive photos experience

By Dougals Pearce as written on

Photos are one of the most popular and most important file types that our users save to OneDrive. We’ve been working on improving the OneDrive photos experience across the web and in our mobile apps.
Here’s a look at new features we are rolling out:

Automatic albums

You upload photos to OneDrive so you can easily find and relive memories—whether from another device or by sharing them with friends and family. With automatic albums, this experience is now even easier.

OneDrive detects whenever you take a few photos in a short period of time, in a particular location. The highest quality photos are then selected and put into an album. You are even notified when they’re ready to view and share on, in our mobile apps or via the Windows 10 Photos app. In addition, to celebrate all of the fun stuff you do over the weekend, on Monday morning albums from your weekend photos are automatically created.

On this day…

On, you’ll also see the new “On this day” view in your All photos page. We love discovering photos we’ve taken in the past, and this view updates every day with images you have taken over the years on that same day. It’s a great way to relive birthdays or anniversaries or to remember old family vacations.

Improved search

You can now search directly from the All photos view too. This includes finding photos that have been tagged (such as “cat” or “sunset”) or photos from a specific location (try your last vacation). You can even search using emojis. These searches also work in the OneDrive mobile apps.

Photo folders

We listened to your feedback and now have a dedicated view for your folders that have a lot of photos in them. The new photos view includes a hero image, larger thumbnails and a revised menu to help you quickly create an album or share photos.

OneDrive photos experience 4

Updated app experience

In addition to giving the photos view in our mobile apps a little bit of a facelift, we worked closely with the Windows team to improve the experience in the Windows 10 Photos app. Now, when you sign in to Windows 10 with your Microsoft account, all of your OneDrive photos show up—including albums that were created for you automatically by OneDrive! You can even upload local albums to OneDrive so that those albums roam with you and are available across all your devices.

Automatic albums improved search Pokémon and more updates to the OneDrive photos experience image 5

Poké detector

And finally, we know that the Pokémon* craze has captured everyone’s attention. A lot of players take screenshots of their captured Pokémon to show off to their friends—both digitally and in person. We had to make it easier for you to find all your Pokémon screenshots, so we went to work and partnered with Microsoft Research to bring a Pokémon detector to OneDrive.

When you have the OneDrive app on your phone and camera upload is turned on, the screenshots you take from the game are automatically saved to OneDrive and 150 Pokémon are identified for your searching and viewing pleasure. You can also search for your favorite Pokémon by name.



People are still crazy about Pokemon Go

By Jordan Crook as written on
If you’re still playing Pokemon Go, then you’ve likely invested enough time and energy to care about this DIY Pokemon Go helmet.
Before we go any further, this video is obviously for fun and isn’t available for sale — worth mentioning since I’m sure more than a few people actually got excited about this.
YouTuber (and self-proclaimed Queen of Shitty Robots) Simone Giertz created this video for some giggles, first spotted by the folks at Kotaku.
Hopefully this brings a giggle to your Monday routine.

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And for what it’s worth, Giertz isn’t the only one still riding that Pokemon Go wave. Niantic, makers of the game, have seen more than $250 million in revenue since the game launched earlier this summer.



Why Smart Data is Behind Pokémon Go’s Success

As written on
It seems like Pokémon decided to accompany me through my whole life. I used to play with the cards when they first came out in the 90’s and now I’m thinking about the huge amounts of data the game is gathering and how they can be analyzed with smart data discovery solutions. Who would have thought that after so many years it would make such a comeback! Even though it is only officially available in three countries, Pokémon Go already beat WhatsApp, Instagram and Snapchat in time spent on the app, and is fighting with Twitter for daily active users. To what does it owe its success?
Most people think that Pokémon Go is so successful because it uses the Augmented Reality camera; but the truth is, it’s successful because it harnessed data into a game. Pokémon Go offers the chance to pretend the world is filled with Pokémon, which we can see through the AR camera of our smartphones. This creates a sense of co-presence. The Pokémon are found in the places that fit them better, for example, a water-type Pokémon will be found near fountains or beaches. But this is not thanks to the AR camera. The real sense of co-presence comes from the perfect placing of Pokémon. The makers of the app did this by taking smart data and turning it into a game.
There is a lot of personalization involved in the game which produces what looks like a seamless integration of the virtual and the real worlds. This makes it look like the game designers custom-placed each Pokémon. But the game can be played worldwide, and there is only one way to generate that level of personalized and localized information: a great usage of smart data.
Pokémon Go’s creators, Niantic, Inc., are Google Earth and Google Maps veterans. In 2012 they created another location-based game called Ingress, which was also a method of data collection and actually provided most of the data for Pokémon Go’s creation. Ingress was based on users capturing “portals”, which were historical sites and public areas that were determined as such by using Google Earth photos. Originally, the sites were chosen by Niantic, but they later encouraged users to submit their own recommendations for sites. About 15 million sites were suggested. The data behind these portals determined the location of “PokéStops” later on. Niantic used data from Google Earth, weather, urban planning, Google Maps, and the data generated by Ingress and its users to determine where each Pokémon should appear. This is why it feels so real.
Smart Data was not just the material for creating the game, it is also the result of it. The app is generating huge amounts of data about its users—mainly their location and movement patterns, but also has access to a lot of information in a person’s phone. All this data is great for business. Forbes wrote an article on the huge business potential generated by Pokémon Go. There are restaurants and shops that ended up with a “PokéStops” status and are taking full advantage of it by attracting app users and potential customers. Others that were not as lucky to be “PokéStops” can buy “lures” and attract Pokémon to their location, therefore attracting users. Since users want to use the Wi-Fi there, businesses can request for them to log in and gather a lot of data on customers. The challenge will be to be able to analyze the data generated and turn it into actionable insights. That’s when Business Intelligence and Smart Data Discovery solutions jump in.


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Why Pokémon Go captured our imagination — and huge market share

By Llraz Margalit as written on
When a franchise that essentially died more than a decade ago comes back to life with such fervor, we need to ask ourselves how and why that happened. And if you’re able to stop playing Pokémon Go long enough to read this article, you’ll find the phenomenon is deeply rooted in evolutionary psychology.
Matthew Lynley recently explained the brilliant ploys used by the creators of Pokémon Go to promote engagement, retention and virality. As a web psychologist, I am naturally inclined to dive deep into the aspects of human behavior that make us prone to embrace the game.
From an evolutionary standpoint, our brains operate much better in a natural environment that’s rooted deeply in our mind, compared to a setting based in virtual reality. Our behavior is governed by two parallel processes: The conscious process that revolves around our immediate tasks (in this case, winning Pokémon Go) and the unconscious process that is responsible for ensuring that there are no threats or sudden changes in our environment.
When playing virtual reality games, the unconscious computation in our brains is forced to work much harder, because it’s not familiar with this strange virtual reality environment. In contrast, playing Pokémon Go involves our actual environment, with which our mind is far more familiar; thus, playing within that setting delivers a comforting feeling of cognitive fluency — a mental shortcut that signals familiarity in a treacherous world.
The idea behind cognitive fluency might seem obvious — people prefer things that are easy to think about. The experience of the real world is psychologically easier to process than that of the VR world of other games. Fluency guides our thinking in situations where we have no idea that it’s at work, and it affects us in any situation where we need to process information.

Pokémon Go scratches some basic psychological itches.

This sense of familiarity has a strong influence over what types of things people find attractive and enjoyable. Playing games in a familiar setting is much more enjoyable, and familiarity has played a strong role in human survival. In prehistoric times, if something (or someone) was familiar, it meant that you had already interacted with it, so it was probably not going to kill you.
Pokémon Go scratches some basic psychological itches. First, the game itself is simple to understand and easy to play, for children and adults alike. Each time a level advances, the challenge is revived and thus the crave is renewed and the desire to continue receiving those fresh doses of gratification causes us to continue playing.
One of the rewarding building blocks of the game is the unexpected gratification of finding the monsters as we walk. We don’t know when to expect them; they can appear at any time or place. Our attraction to this kind of action is attributed to a neurotransmitter called dopamine, a chemical found in our brain.
Scientists initially associated dopamine with feelings of enjoyment (a high level of dopamine being visible during activities such as eating chocolate, having sex and hearing favorite music), but research in the past decade has indicated that dopamine has additional functions besides activating gratification and pleasure. This molecule helps us in detecting changes in the environment.
The system centers around expectations. We can expect high levels of dopamine when we encounter unexpected rewards (three or four times as excited, as measured by the strength of the dopaminergic firing). In other words, the reward is more pleasurable the more surprising it is.
When we receive unexpected cash on a randomized basis, it forces us more strongly into obsessively repeating our action than cash on a predictable basis would. This tendency was best illustrated by B.F. Skinner, a pioneer of behavioral psychology, in the 1950s. When his lab rats received an unexpected reward from pushing a pedal, they would continue pushing it even after the reward stopped arriving. This element of surprise helps explain why people just can’t get enough of Pokémon Go.
Additional bursts of pleasure also come from the nostalgia this game evokes. Being outside chasing monsters activates old and enjoyable memories, providing us with a priceless opportunity to relive a piece of our childhood again, and bring our childhood experiences to life. It activates memories from a simpler time in which we were out in the streets playing social games like tag or hide-and-seek.

Pokémon Go players feel as if they are taking part in an actual activity with other people.

Those games we used to play involved human partners, or at least involved manipulating real objects in real space (like throwing a ball). Pokémon Go players feel as if they are taking part in an actual activity with other people, rather than a remote observer behind a screen. Throwing the ball at a Pokémon brings up exciting memories that were closed in a box that belongs to the past. These memories have a positive influence on our well-being as we get a secret key to a magical period.
In addition, playing Pokémon Go can fulfill an everlasting fantasy. Walking through the streets fighting monsters that pop up unexpectedly out of nowhere can easily drive our imagination to assume the masterful role of superhero, or warrior, fulfilling a fantasy and giving our senses and emotions an other-worldly experience. Such games boost adrenaline levels, and they awaken strong feelings of power — as well as frustration, gratification and enjoyment.
A central part of the gratification Pokémon Go players experience is akin to the old-fashioned games we used to play, where people would go outside and interact more socially. Many studies have illustrated the mood-boosting effect of physical activity, and social ties are equally important for mental health. Some research suggests that even shallow conversation with strangers boosts well-being.
However, Dr. David Sack recently cautioned in Psychology Today about the fine line between behavior and addiction, questioning whether Pokémon Go will drive up the percentages of internet addiction or pathological gaming.
He quotes a DSM-5 fact sheet studying gamers: “When these individuals are engrossed in Internet games, certain pathways in their brains are triggered in the same direct and intense way that a drug addict’s brain is affected by a particular substance. The gaming prompts a neurological response that influences feelings of pleasure and reward, and the result, in the extreme, is manifested as addictive behavior.”
“Such compulsive play pushes aside other interests and responsibilities, threatening relationships, academics, jobs and more,” Dr. Sack writes. “Although this research focused on traditional online gamers, it’s no stretch to expect the same to apply to Pokémon Go players.”
To conclude, there is a thin line between having fun with a game and becoming addicted to it. The problem is that this line starts creating changes in our brain, generating new connections — before we even realize we are addicted.



Pokémon Go spotted in Power BI publish to web

Pokémon Go was released this week by Niantic and The Pokémon Company, and it became an instant success.

Pokémon Go was released this week by Niantic and The Pokémon Company, and it became an instant success.

By Jessica Cook as written on
If you’ve missed hearing about it by now – although we’re not sure how you would – the new mobile game Pokémon Go was released this week by Niantic and The Pokémon Company, and it became an instant success. The game combines GPS location data, augmented reality, and the “gotta catch ‘em all” collectible fever of the original Pokémon games. Players wander around outside with their phones, hoping to find and capture rare monster spawns and battle other players for the right to claim virtual “gyms”.
Within days of its release, Pokémon Go became the top free app in both the Google Play store and the Apple App Store, surpassing favorites such as dating app Tinder and social media app Twitter. And now the latest craze has even been spotted in Power BI publish to web!
Earlier this week, a Power BI community member published their interactive report on the monsters featured in Pokémon Go. You can get an overview of all the monsters available, sort them by damage type, and see the relative power of each type.
If you are one of the many people planning on playing some Pokémon Go this weekend, we wish you good weather and lots of rare monsters! (And for more unique examples of Power BI dashboards, check out the Data Stories Gallery.)

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Pokemon Go is 'gold' for our HoloLens, says Microsoft's CEO

Satya Nadella waxes hopeful that the Pokemon Go boom will translate into increased interest in Microsoft's augmented reality headset.


By Ry Cist as written on
As Pokemon goes, so goes augmented reality.
That's the hope, at least, for Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. He told CNBC that the hugely successful Pokemon Go app, which has millions of people chasing down monsters on real-world streets using their phones, is a phenomenon that spells good things for his company's augmented-reality headset, the HoloLens.
"I think it's fantastic to see these augmented-reality applications getting built, because the best thing that can happen when you're creating a new category is for applications that are these killer apps, whether it be game or in the industrial scenario, to get invested in," Nadella said.
Microsoft has already made a point of demonstrating the potential for gaming in augmented reality, with impressive HoloLens demonstrations that transform living rooms into combat zones and that bring the world of Minecraft to your coffee table.
Pokemon Go, meanwhile, has reinvigorated enthusiasm for Nintendo among both gamers and investors, even as it had developer Niantic Labs scrambling to address privacy concerns that the game unleashed.
Nadella was speaking alongside Jeffrey Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, who agreed that the Pokemon craze -- just barely a week old -- is a clear indicator of the potential for augmented reality to break through. Beyond gaming, both Immelt and Nadella expect augmented reality to have a transformative effect on industry in the coming years.
"I'm not a great gamer, so I can't really say how much that's worth -- but the industrial applications of this are going to be billions of dollars of productivity," Immelt said.



Pokemon Go to get more Pokemon, trading, and customizable PokeStops

By Darrell Etherington as written on
Pokemon players will eventually be able to fill out their collections via trades, which is very good news for people eyeing region-specific Pokemon like Australia’s Kangaskhan from the other side of the world. Niantic CEO John Hanke revealed at a San Diego Comic Con panel that Niantic is indeed working on adding trading (and new training features) to their game, as well as customizable PokeStops and more Pokemon from later generations of the Nintendo franchise. He also said Niantic is thinking about adding the ability to breed Pokemon, too.
One of the most interesting things Hanke discussed that we might see implemented soon are custom PokeStops. The idea, as described by Hanke, is that players could get alternate items that would function like Lures (which you add to PokeStops to attract more Pokemon to the area), but that would change the Stops in different ways. Hanke suggested, for instance, than an object could turn a PokeStop into a healing location, essentially making it a temporary PokeCenter. You could also imagine items that help a PokeStop attract a certain type of Pokemon, like an all-electric Lure, or something that sets what kind of items the PokeStop provides to trainers that activate it.


New Pokemon are confirmed to be on their way, too. Currently, only the original 150 Pokemon included in Pokemon Red/Blue are present in Pokemon Go for trainers to catch, but Hanke told the panel that the company is “looking forward to finding interesting ways” to incorporate Pokemon “beyond first generation” into the Go realm. It sounded like Hanke didn’t have any very specific timeline on when this would happen, or what it would look like – though his wording did suggest the introduction of other Pokemon won’t be as straightforward as batch updates with entire subsequent generations added.
Hanke also briefly mentioned that trading features are currently being developed. Trading has been a feature of Pokemon since the original generation of games, and it makes sense for Go: You’ve likely already had the experience where you’ve doubled up on some kind of Pokemon while out with a friend and wish you could just swap with them for something you need to get a different one to evolve. Breeding, too, is another Pokemon series staple, which makes sense as a more targeted way to generate Eggs for players to hatch.
Training improvements could be welcome, too. So far, the only way to improve Pokemon in Go is by catching others of the same kind and exchanging them for seeds, which you use to power up a basic CP stat. Fighting your own team’s Pokemon at team-owned gyms is also called ‘training’ in game, but essentially just nets you some experience and improves the gym’s power ranking. A better training mechanic that gives you alternate ways to improve your existing Pokemon would be very welcome.
The main reveal of new stuff for Pokemon Go at SDCC was putting actual faces to the silhouettes of team leaders in the game. Valor, Mystic and Instinct are headed up by Candela, Blanche and Spark, so now we’re not just blindly following some shadowy figure. But the roadmap is far more interesting, even if we have to wait “months” or even “years” per Hanke’s projected timeline for new Pokemon, and likely around the same for any other new features.


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