Ever since Pokemon GO launched, Niantic has famously not said an awful lot. And at the Disrupt conference this week in San Francisco, CEO John Hanke spent a good deal of time talking without saying nothing.
But before leaving the stage, he provided one solid nugget of information about Pokemon GO’s future. Events are coming, and they’re a natural fit for launching new Pokemon.
“We’re kind of waiting for the launch craziness to subside, and then we can get to work, do the hard work of planning,” Hanke replied when asked directly about Pokemon GO events. “It’s hard to put on an event for 10,000-plus people, you guys know putting on this event, organising, getting space and all that.
“But yeah, the introduction of new Pokemon into the world and having events where that might be showcased, those concepts go together really well. I think you can expect to see that happen in a kind of synchronised way as we move forward.”
Hanke also revealed that Niantic was originally planning to slowly educate and inform players about Pokemon GO over many months, not expecting the game to become a social phenomenon.
“We certainly didn’t expect that, our marketing plan was not that, it was to sort of gradually bring people on board to teach them about the game, to market the game over the course of many, many months,” the Niantic CEO explained. “And what happened is that all got compressed into the span of two or three weeks, and essentially everybody in the world who has a smartphone heard about the game through social media.
“We didn’t do any advertising or marketing, and so there was this massive influx of people into the front-end of that, you know that customer acquisition pipeline. Now those people are maturing, some people exited the game, some people turned out, and you have other people that are playing and then we have a smaller but steady influx of new users coming into the game all the time.”
Hanke also indicated that player vs player battles was “something that will probably make our way onto our roadmap” for upcoming features, but he refused multiple times to give any timeframe as to when that might happen.