The hype train had to start slowing down eventually. Regardless of what happens in the coming few months, Pokemon GO (Free) was the unequivocal mobile event of the year, and a rare example of when gaming managed to permeate into everyday life on a worldwide scale. It has been extremely enjoyable writing stories about some of the interesting, creative and outright strange things that people have done in relation to the pop culture craze, whether that’s through attempts to cheat the hatching mechanic through drones, or even special iPhone cases that help you throw Pokeballs in a straight line. However, this initial hype was always going to slow down, and while it is extremely difficult to analyse such patterns, some recent stats that were published on the Pokemon GO subreddit suggest that amongst a certain group of fans, popularity of the augmented reality creature catching title is starting to wane.
From the graphs created by community member NotABiscuit, unique visitors, page views and subscriptions have all fallen relatively dramatically between June and August. Unique visitors has decreased from around 12 million to 8 million, with page views falling more than half, from approximately 220 million to under 100m. If unique visitors and page views are evaluated by day, there is an evident negative correlation between time and amount of views. Furthermore, in the past week alone, r/PokemonGo has lost over five thousand subscribers, and there have been numerous articles in the past few weeks detailing the decline in engagement stats in the actual app as well which, compared to early July when the Pokemon GO subreddit was by far the biggest on Reddit, does not bode well for Niantic.
On one hand, this diminishing excitement around Pokemon GO is to be expected. The extent of the popularity of its initial launch was completely unprecedented, and broke numerous records in terms of number of downloads across the world. There is absolutely no way that this sort of interest could be maintained over a long period, and the fact it is still a major piece of pop culture many months later is a testament to the success of Pokemon GO. However, there have been many unhappy trainers voicing their discontent with the app in regards to numerous different facets of Pokemon GO, such as the lack of a tracking system, server problems, no second generation Pokemon and difficulties finding rarer creatures in rural areas. While it isn’t clear whether these issues are impacting more casual gamers that gave Pokemon GO the success in the first place, it’s extremely evident that a more involved and invested community of gamers are simply growing bored and impatient with the game in its current state, and the subreddit graphs portray this clearly.
Pokemon GO is just insane right now. This is in Central Park. It's basically been HQ for Pokemon GO. pic.twitter.com/3v2VfEHzNA
— Jonathan (@IGIhosT) July 11, 2016
However, page view and subscription stats for a relatively niche subreddit must not be taken as a holistic indicator for popularity of the game. People may have just grown tired of how the community has degenerated into repetitive memes and wearisome complaints towards the developers. Supporting this theory is the fact that The Silph Road, an alternative forum which takes a more analytical, detailed and factual approach to Pokemon GO, is still going strong, and I personally find this subreddit a lot more interesting than the eponymous one. It’ll certainly be interesting to follow the future popularity and evolution of Pokemon GO, at least. If you have any ideas or theories related to the game, feel free to join in the discussion on our forums.