We all know Pokémon GO has made a bunch of money: the sight of entire cities seemingly out in the streets, hunting for digital monsters over the summer was enough to convince anyone of that fact. How much is another question: most video game developers are notoriously cagey about their earnings, and Niantic is no exception. But a new report from Sensor Tower says that the game has crossed an important milestone: $1 billion in revenue. Not bad.
It's even more impressive when you consider how mismanaged so many aspects of this game were. To start with, basic monetization is pretty wonky: there are no aesthetic upgrades and no ability to buy premium Poké Balls, both of which could have added untold millions to that figure. On top of that, there's no real endgame or well-defined long-term goals, which caused some pretty extreme user-bleed after those first few weeks. The mind boggles thinking how much this game could have made if it had released in a more complete state, or with even slightly more rounded monetization.
The future, however, remains a bit murky. App Annie reported that the game had made $950 million in revenue by the end of 2016, and so (assuming the two firms' metrics are at least relatively analogous), it's clear that there's a deceleration effect happening. Pokémon GO has been slipping in the charts, and revenue is way off the lofty heights it reached in the summer. That doesn't mean it can't get back there, however. Events like Halloween show that there's a big user base ready to be activated with the right incentives, and the right cocktail of new features at the right time could get hordes of players back on the street just as spring starts to set in: Niantic clearly has a new generation of monsters waiting in the wings, and plenty will want to catch them.
Whether or not the game will see the other features it's needed since launch is a little less clear, but one can dream. The most profitable days for this game are most certainly behind it, but that doesn't mean that it won't see something of a minor resurgence. At the very least, features like a functional nearby tracker will mean that anyone who shows up for Gen 2 might stick around a bit longer than they did last time around.