Niantic folks are probably popping the champagne as 2020 turned out to be their most successful one with Pokemon Go, even though virtually everyone played the game in 2016.
Pokemon Go popularity may not be making the headlines all over the place anymore but it's certainly not slowing down when it comes to monetisation. After the initial burst when it released in 2016, the game seemed to quickly fall from grace. In the debut year, it earned a whopping $832 million while the following one yielded "only" $589 million.
Going forward, 2018 and 2019 were each fruitful for Niantic as revenue kept going up and increasing year on year, with 2019 breaking the record that was set in the first year. The player spend of $902 million was pretty amazing and 2019 became the single biggest earning year, until 2020.
According to Sensor Tower , players spent over $1 billion while catching various creatures during the year that was mostly spent in quarantine, isolation and social distancing. It's pretty obvious Covid-19 pandemic had an impact on live service revenue across the industry as players started spending more.
On the other hand, keep in mind Niantic organised ways to help players stay at home by showering them with Pokemon Go consumables during the isolation months. In other words, the devs sent out plenty of supplies that could have been monetised which would further inflate the revenue number.
In a world where publishers are looking to grab every last nickel, it is refreshing to see some are still willing to help players out when needed, even if it means the already impressive revenue numbers wouldn't be pushed further.