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Gotta Catch Them All – Pokémon Expands its Console Market by Engaging Mobile

Nov 15, 2018
Mat Piscatella, Industry Analyst ;
Video Games
@MatPiscatella

Pokémon, the beloved franchise that began in the U.S. as a 1998 Game Boy release and has since expanded to anime series, films, manga, trading card games and, of course, multiple million-selling video games, is set to launch its latest iteration on Nintendo Switch in the U.S. market this Friday. Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee are releasing into a highly competitive window on November 16.

EEDAR, an NPD Group company, has been preparing its “Mobile Syndicated 2019” report led by Dr. Heather Nofziger, who was kind enough to forward a few findings my way regarding the potential strength and scope of this launch and the potential impact it may have on Nintendo Switch.

This itself may cause some confusion. Why would a report on the Mobile space be relevant to a launch in the Console space? It turns out that the two are far more related than one might think, particularly when it comes to Pokémon.

Let’s start with Pokémon Go. Originally launched in July 2016, Pokémon Go became an instant cultural phenomenon. The momentum may not be what it was at its peak, but Pokémon Go currently ranks as the #3 top-grossing ranked title on iOS with millions of active players worldwide.

According to EEDAR’s research, Pokémon Go has tremendous awareness and trial within the mobile gaming community.  Over 70 percent of mobile gamers are aware of Pokémon Go, while 29 percent have actively played it. This equates to over 55 million gamers in the U.S. with hands on experience with Pokémon Go.  Most mobile gamers (60 percent) still playing Pokémon Go more than two years after launch have been active with the title since its launch.

Players of Pokémon Go average 23 years old, with half of the player base being between the ages of 18 to 34. They lean, as a group, somewhat more male (57 percent), and play games across multiple devices.  Ninety-three percent of this group also plays games on Console, PC or Portable platforms.  The audience for Pokémon Go is like that which plays games on dedicated gaming devices.

How does this relate to the pending launch of Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu and Pokémon: Let’s Go Eevee?  Well, here is where the data really gets interesting.  Of currently active Pokémon Go players, 24 percent are also active Switch players. Further, 65 percent of this Pokémon Go player/Switch owner group intend to purchase and play Pokémon: Let’s Go. This works out to be roughly 15 percent of total current Pokémon Go players that intend to purchase and play the Switch version of Pokémon: Let’s Go.

In addition, more than 13 percent of Pokémon Go players who do not currently play games on Switch intend to purchase and play Pokémon: Let’s Go. This is a large group of individuals that intend to buy Nintendo Switch primarily due to the presence of Pokémon: Let’s Go.

Pokémon: Let’s Go isn’t even the first launch on a non-mobile platform that could benefit from the reach and appeal of Pokémon Go. Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon launched in November 2016 on Nintendo 3DS and delivered the highest U.S. launch month dollar sales for portable titles in Pokémon franchise history. The sales data suggest that Pokémon Go may have had a positive impact on the sales potential of Pokémon Sun and Pokémon Moon.

The data further suggest that the multi-pronged approach the Pokémon brand has taken to engage with fans across mediums has been successful in growing the total potential market. Mobile and console offerings appear to be working together to make the total pie much larger. Because of these efforts, Pokémon as a franchise has far more sales potential than were it to only focus on one specific platform or another.

Pokémon is yet another example where having gaming and other content available and accessible across multiple platforms has only increased the size of the total addressable market. More franchises would benefit from following Pokémon’s example; because when it comes to hours of consumer engagement, it’s best for a brand to try to catch them all.



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