back to article Pokémon Go was a 'success disaster' and Niantic is still chasing another hit

Niantic, the Google spin-out behind the smash success augmented reality game Pokémon Go, is set to release Monster Hunter Now – a game that even before launch is struggling in its predecessor's shadow. The mobile game is a collaboration with Japanese video game publisher Capcom and has been soft launched in select markets …

  1. Khaptain Silver badge

    The buzz has worn off

    Niantic have created several AR games, I didn't play Pokemon Go but I did play Ingress. I loved playing Ingress in the sense that it made you want to go out and capture the portals etc... Pokemon Go is just the same game with Monsters( Pokemons) instead of portals.

    Niantic's success was without doubt due to the uniqueness of the experience but we have now mostly outlived and gone through that period.. On top of that their games become hyper-repetitive after a period of time and one completely loses interest, regardless of how much spicing up they try and do..

    I highly doubt that they will ever achieve the same achievements as they did with PG unless of course that design something breathtakingly new ( which is extremely difficult to do).

    1. John Riddoch

      Re: The buzz has worn off

      Pokemon Go had a ready market with all the people who had played games on Nintendo, played the card games, watched the Anime etc so it was an easy grab. Adding in some of the cooperative features like raids has helped foster communities of players together as well.

      Wizards Unite should have managed the same with the Potter franchise but it flopped (my understanding is that the gameplay wasn't great) and has since been dropped.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: The buzz has worn off

        I think the Potter title might have suffered from some parts of gameplay needing AR, this was at a time when it was not supported well / at all on many phones (and especially not on low end phones). I know there are a lot of youngsters out there whose parents buy them phones far more expensive & high spec than the (basic budget) phone I use, but even so, a lot of potential users would have been disenfranchised.

        .. Was an "early adopter" of Ingress, many years ago & from that often get invites to trial new / pre release Niantic products, ,

        Some of them would not even install on my phone at the time (obviously had a variety of phones over the time of different Niantic product releases), and some that did e.g. Potter, I could not play some AR aspects of the game.

        A lot of them really hammered battery when in AR mode, which is not conducive to people playing the game for long..

        I gave lots of constructive feedback, but I would assume it was ignored with the apparent approach of thinking everyone has new shiny mega spec phones and massive use of battery burning AR (on AR supporting phones) is fine.

        Only Niantic game that I still play is Ingress, whether that says more about me or their products, who knows? (though obviously I am about as far from the target market as its possible to be for lots of their offerings such as pikmin bloom, peridot etc.)

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: The buzz has worn off

          "A lot of them really hammered battery when in AR mode, which is not conducive to people playing the game for long.."

          Ingress was the reason for which I bought my 1st ever external power pack for a Smartphone... you couldn't expect to attend any events without at least one of them.

          Niantic did quite a good job of the AR side of things but as mentioned above it was more of a gadget than anything else as the battery was very, very quickly the limiting factor..

          1. tiggity Silver badge

            Re: The buzz has worn off

            Indeed, I'm sure Ingress (& subsequent Niantic games) helped the Anker share price (Anker seemed by far the most popular "powerbank" brand amongst Ingress players)

    2. emfiliane

      Re: The buzz has worn off

      Each of the games has fairly different mechanics based on the same basic concept, some of which make more sense to the original material than others. None of them can be called "the same game" at all, though we'd all lump them into the clone category.

      Heck, they might have even achieved more success with straight reskinned variants of the exact same game. A lot of PGo players I've known tried both Ingress and WU, leaving them because they weren't really the same game, and what was different about them wasn't hooking them.

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge

        Re: The buzz has worn off

        In principle, each game would apply to different people with their gameplay. Personally I thought Ingress's concept of creating links between portals and building up areas was way more interesting than PG, which seems to be just "attack all the gyms" with very little strategy. In particular, in Ingress there was a big incentive in visiting other cities and collecting the portal keys. I don't remember PG has anything similar, but I guess the backstory is more important.

        1. Blackjack Silver badge

          Re: The buzz has worn off

          Attack the Gyms wasn't even a thing when Pokemon Go launched, you catched Pokemon... a whole lot. it was the ideal videogame to lose weight walking.

    3. TRT Silver badge

      Re: The buzz has worn off

      I would still be playing Ingress if V2 hadn't changed the UI so badly that I can't use it without putting on reading glasses, which is kind of annoying for an on the move game.

    4. hedgie

      Re: The buzz has worn off

      I loved Ingress, and went through some periods of really avid play. I usually didn't even attack anything, since my local area is so ENL-heavy,[1] that others did all the smurf smashing.[2] I just layered a bunch of fields all over town. That would have gotten terribly repetitive on its own, since they usually would last until the portals died,[3] and I'd only have to re-lay fields maybe once a week, less if others were recharging things.

      What really killed the game for me was the pandemic; even though I fielded alone, and we could social distance at Frack Farms, going out for dinner and drinks after or piling into one car for a night of mayhem were the best part of the whole experience. Without that the kind of social gathering, I got bored and gave up.

      [1] And one of my friends is the sort who is so obsessive about her hobby that she bought a BGAN and a Jeep just to deal with portals far away from roads and mobile telephone service. Getting up at 2am to blow up certain captured portals was nothing for her by comparison.

      [2] I did make some exceptions for trolling specific smurfs. Once a couple of us figured out some aggressive new player's home portals, we took a walk down one of the greenbelts throwing at least 15 layers over his home, and got our friends to help harden/recharge the anchors.

      [3] I always told my friends that I have no object permanence when it came to portals. I didn't ever recharge unless it was actively under attack and my phone blew up with notifications.

  2. that one in the corner Silver badge

    What is with all this past tense?

    Pokemon Go is still being played (well, definitely up to mid-August, when I was last regaled with with tales of daring hunts).

    Not in the massive numbers of when it was fad du jour and, of course, no "proper gamer" (whatever that is) will admit to it nowadays.

    Hey, maybe the smaller number of current Pokemon players is "it" for this kind of game - all the dedicated followers of fad games will just see this new thing as same old, same old, but actually less - now you can't watch the cartoons or read the manga about the monsters you are hunting, certainly not with the rich background of lore behind them[1].

    So moving away from Pokemon to these, what are they - almost pocket sized monsters? Fit on your phone sized monsters? - will at best just eat away at your loyal player base. Find foot; take aim; fire.

    [1] apparently this is the way to refer to these things

    1. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: What is with all this past tense?

      You could have said the same thing about the Harry Potter thing they made.

      It didn't happen, and won't because it's the fandom that matters.

      Pokémon Go had a ready built audience of those around 30 and under (at the time) who grew up with the various iterations of Pokémon TV shows, manga, games, toys etc.

      They're introducing their kids to the new iterations of Pokémon TV shows etc, as they can watch and enjoy it together.

      So Pokémon Go became a massive hit and is now in "slow decline", as adults stop playing but some of their kids start playing - and of course some parents start playing because their kids are. It'll likely remain highly profitable for another decade if not longer, as long as new TV series are commissioned and new pocket monsters are created.

      Any new theming of the core game relies on there being an existing audience. The Harry Potter one failed because half the fandom has been alienated by the author, and (worse) the Harry Potter IP wasn't about travelling the world finding things (other than camping for horcruxes) so making XR gameplay relevant to the IP and "fun" was rather more difficult.

      There have been multiple attempts to make clones of the Pokémon IP - Digimon etc - and none of them are still around.

      Who is going to care about these new pocket monsters?

      By setting expectations of "Another Pokémon Go" they've doomed it to be seen as a failure - even if it makes the kind of profits any other mobile games company would kill for.

      1. Dinanziame Silver badge

        Re: What is with all this past tense?

        half the fandom has been alienated by the author

        I doubt the effect was very significant: Despite the controversy, Hogwarts Legacy is apparently the best-selling game of the year.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What is with all this past tense?

        > half the fandom has been alienated by the author

        Maybe half the active, online "we know we are fandom" who know about the controversy - but is that really significant?

        Although any "organised fandom" seems loud and important to its members (and I'm in a few... not that anyone knows, of course, as I just anonymously sneak in, sit at the back and sneak out again - "Who was that masked fan?") it rarely makes up a significant portion of the actual marketplace.

        Just for the HP stuff, there is still stream of merchandise that _someone_ believes is going to be bought, and at not insigificant prices when it crosses over into over fandoms (e.g. "coming soon" a £369.99 LEGO Gringott's Bank to go with your existing £429.99 Hogwart's Express.

      3. that one in the corner Silver badge

        Re: What is with all this past tense?

        > as adults stop playing

        FWIW the players I know are all adults. As they play "whenever they feel like it" rather than attaching any more importance to it, I'd expect them to carry on as-is for years to come, so long as the game is available really.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    I feel sorry...

    for Mongo. Must be utterly fed up of being poked these last few years.

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Any chance

    of having an AR version of portal?

    >> lab coat of course... because we're doing science

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: Any chance

      That would be very popular. Make a fortune if they offered an incentive to sign up... like free cake maybe. Everyone loves free cake.

  5. Eecahmap

    Pokémon Go probably wouldn't exist without Ingress, but the article mentions Ingress only once and Pokémon Go ten times.

    Seems Niantic squandered its opportunities to make Ingress more profitable, in part with the way they rolled out the v2 client.

    Then there's Niantic's hostility to rooted phones.

    I wonder if the games will work with GrapheneOS.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      I don't know if I should upvote you or downvote you... "hostility to rooted phones"... have you ever tried playing Ingress when there's a spoofer active? The international and local coordinations required to put a multi-layered blue field over most of Europe... whilst some incel just sits in their bedroom and spoils all that effort through spoofing... boils my blood.

  6. Ananym

    I would love to have a go at making one of these games - I've always been frustrated by Niantic's refusal to use their tech to try making anything resembling a real videogame.

    Unfortunately the fact that spoofing the gps is so trivial feels like it ruins most prospects for socially predicated mechanics.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Other stories you might like