Just over a month ago, Pokémon Go became the biggest mobile game in U.S. history — but now the number of users is starting to decline, and fast.
Bloomberg recently published charts from Axiom Capital Management that show a daily decrease in the game's users and engagement. Pokémon Go reached its peak around 45 million users in mid-July and has since dropped off to approximately 30 million in the span of four weeks.
How could this be? It goes without saying that no game could sustain such incredible engagement throughout its entire lifetime, but why is Pokémon Go losing users so quickly? It seemed like just yesterday people were running into traffic for the sake of this game, but a month later, the novelty has worn off and Pokéburnout has set in. Here are some theories why.
Simply put, Pokémon Go is out of the spotlight. It dominated headlines after its release, but the momentum has died down, according to Google Trends data on news searches.
This could be due to a decline in visibility in the physical world. Maybe fewer people are walking around glued to their phones stumbling into dead bodies, getting into car accidents or breaking into cemeteries. Or maybe the stories are just getting repetitive and tired — especially this month, when the Olympics have taken over the news cycle.
Physical activity required
Pokémon Go was initially praised for encouraging gamers to go outside and explore, but that initiative had to eventually take a toll on players, especially during the hottest July ever. Prospective Pokémon trainers might also have been discouraged by numerous reports of armed robberies and shootouts that were experienced when players ventured outside. And disappointed users who wanted a game they could play on their couch may have simply given up.
Numerous early reviews called Pokémon Go "bland and repetitive," and more than a month later, even the most diehard fans will admit it can get a little... well, boring. Once you catch one Pidgey, catching more loses its appeal.
As BuzzFeed put it, the game works like this: "Walk around. Find Pokéstops. Gather items. Catch (mostly the same frequently appearing Pokémon). Level them up. Maybe fight in a gym. Repeat." Yawn.
The game is plagued by glitches
Time for some real talk. None of the other supporting reasons come close to this one: Pokémon Go was, and is, fundamentally broken. First off, the game is significantly different from what was promised in the original trailer. And then the version that was delivered was still full of glitches that made the user experience extremely frustrating. Servers routinely crashed, the game frequently froze and players were repeatedly asked to log-in to their accounts.
It got so bad that there's an entire website solely dedicated to answering the following question: Is Pokémon Go down or not? Niantic, the game's developer, just released a minor update, but it'll have to do a bit more if they plan on sustaining Pokémon Go's fanbase.