And as a small counter to the “Pokemon GO is dead train”, here’s John Hanke with something that can’t be argued: facts.
Hanke, the chief executive of Pokemon GO and Ingress developers Niantic, recently testified in front of the US Senate at a hearing on augmented reality. He wasn’t the only prominent face to appear – the Entertainment Software Association’s general counsel appeared, as did the research vice president for analysts Gartner – but as far as the gaming industry was concerned, he was the biggest.
And as far as the committee was concerned, it’s not hard to see why. In his opening statement, the Niantic CEO revealed that Pokemon GO had been downloaded “over 600 million times” and is actively played “in more than 100 countries” just over four months since it was released.
By way of comparison, Ingress was downloaded around 20 million times.
Amusingly, Hanke also reiterated how the game’s popularity completely caught Niantic off-guard. “With the unanticipated popularity of the game, we had a couple of outages as
we scaled up, and of course, hacking was a constant and costly nuisance,” he testified, despite later saying that Ingress was particularly popular in Japan.
He added that even though Niantic currently employs 75 people, it was difficult for the company to come to grips with dealing with policy and regulations around the world. They might have been a start-up – in Silicon Valley terms, at least – but Pokemon GO was a global product, which meant discussions and negotiations with countries around the world (not all of which worked out in Pokemon GO’s favour).
You can read John Hanke’s full statement here, as well as seeing his longer testimony to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.