Now comes a report, via the Post’s Anna Fifield in Japan, of a truck driver who, distracted while playing Pokémon Go, crashed into two pedestrians, Sachiko Nakanishi, 72, and Kayoko Ikawa, 60, killing the first and severely injuring the second on Tuesday. As Fifield reported:
Keiji Goo, a 39-year-old farmer, was playing the game while driving a small truck in Tokushima prefecture on the island of Shikoku.He struck two women while they were crossing the road, killing 72-year-old Sachiko Nakanishi and breaking the hip of 60-year-old Kayoko Ikawa. Goo told Tokushima police that he had been playing the game while driving, the Kyodo news agency reported.“I was playing Pokémon Go while driving, so I didn’t really see what was in front of me,” the public broadcaster NHK quoted the driver as telling police when he was arrested.
So perhaps it’s just as well, that, as Bloomberg reports, the game, which had the world in a frenzy, is now experiencing a decline.
“Data from Sensor Tower, SurveyMonkey, and Apptopia, however, show that Pokemon Go’s daily active users, downloads, engagement, and time spent on the app per day are all well off their peaks and on a downward trend,” Bloomberg said.
The BBC reported that data compiled by Axiom Capital Management showed that some 10 million players have given it up since mid-July.
“Pokemon Go’s Daily Active Users (DAUs) — an industry metric that determines how many people switch on an app each day — suggested that the game edged close to 45 million users on 17 July. By 16 August, that figure fell to just above 30 million,” the BBC added.
“It’s rare for games to explode in popularity like Pokemon Go has, but a drop in users was always expected after a big launch,” Craig Chapple, editor of PocketGamer.Biz, told BBC.
Part of the problem appears to be the lack of updates to the game, which players have come to expect. “There’s nothing you can do now that you couldn’t do a month and a half ago,” wrote Jacob Siegal in BGR, in a story bearing the headline, “Is Pokemon Go already dying?”
The game’s creator, Niantic, hopes to remedy that problem, announcing to developers on its Facebook page that “Pokémon GO is in the process of being updated to version 0.35.0 for Android and 1.5.0 for iOS devices.”
The best explanation comes from players themselves, in comments where some of them hang out.
“Well, of course — it’s a limited game with an even more limited appeal,” wrote Gamer Luna at mynintendonews. “The pokemon brand name can only hold attention to it for so long before the cracks and limitations of the game in its current state reveal themselves for what they are. The game gives no true value for long play, and is essentially candyfloss … no decent content or reason to keep coming back to it for many players once the honeymoon appeal has worn out.”
“Ingress is definitely a better game, I don’t see many users getting bored of it. If you’re bored of PoGo,” wrote melodius, “I’d definitely recommend it, although it takes a bit of time before you can do the really cool stuff. Join Enlightened!”
Said Sleepy: “Well between the loss of features through updates, the actual dangers that have presented themselves and possibly scared people away, the pokestops that have been taken down or have been discouraged from being used as of late, the expensive microtransaction bills, the really low quality tagging, and there simply only being so many pokemon to catch, it makes sense that it would fade after a couple months of constant high gameplay rates.”
Greg Warner: “Not a surprise. Nothing is going maintain a level that high for long. A severe dip was inevitable.”
Warner makes a good point. Few products that rise so fast in popularity can maintain it. And it’s still pulling in 30 million users, if the reported numbers are correct, and remains one of the top game downloads.
And there is clearly pent up demand, as evidenced by some of the responses to Niantic’s post.
“Need to add better Pokémon to rural areas along with more Pokestops,” wrote one user. “Also, you need to add Pokémon centers and sell potions. I can hardly ever battle anymore because I have no potions. You should also make it easier to catch the mediocre pokemon. You also need to add the tracker to everywhere.”
“What about pokestops and gyms in small towns?” wrote another. “How long will take to give small town people motivation to play and not use hacks and cheats to get pokeballs? (not me, but there are tons of people doing this)”
And potential players in countries where it’s yet to be introduced suggested room for growth.
“We are Pokemon fans from China. We would appreciate it if we could meet Pokemons in China,” someone in China wrote. “As you know, China has the largest number of population of the world. No doubt that we will absolutely have the largest number of Pokemon players if you release this amazing game in China. We are sure you will not regret for letting us join the Big Pokemon Family of the world. Thank you guys for working hard everyday and night to make this game better and better. Hope to hear from you soon.”
“Please release Pokémon GO in Sri Lanka,” wrote a fan. “We don’t have a big enough population to crash your servers and we’re a mighty bunch who love Pokémon.”