It’s well established at this point that mobile gaming is a lucrative market, but the recent fortunes for The Pokémon Company really puts a spotlight on just how much a runaway app is worth.
Though private companies like TPC don’t usually have to report their financials, according to Serkan Toto, TPC did do so through the Japanese government’s official gazette.
Perhaps to nobody’s surprise, the release of Pokémon GO last year was a nice big boost to their earnings. The real shocker is the sheer magnitude of it.
Here is The Pokémon Company’s net profit for the last five years (all past fiscals ended on the last day of February):
- 15th fiscal (for the year that ended on February 28, 2013): US$16.6 million
- 16th fiscal: US$10.6 million
- 17th fiscal: US$18.4 million
- 18th fiscal: US$5.6 million
- 19th fiscal: US$143.3 million
Note: that’s profit, not revenue. That’s after all extant expenses and liabilities are accounted for, and the pot split with Niantic Labs and Nintendo. Though the mobile app had notably peaked early on, due in no small part to massive teething troubles with its servers and Niantic Labs’ famously circumspect community management, the game still boasts over twice the user population of Overwatch.
That’s a lot of people buying PokéBalls.
It’s not just direct microtransactions within the app itself, though, nor that of its partnerships with Sprint and Starbucks in the past. The mobile games’ impact has amplified every other product under The Pokémon Company’s aegis as well. Sales of Pokemon 3DS games doubled during the initial release specifically because of the sheer ubiquity of its public presence. That massive amplification probably had a pretty massive hand in making Pokémon Sun & Moon one of the most successful of the franchise’s mainline releases too.
From this and Fire Emblem Heroes’ success, Nintendo mobile games seem to be doing pretty well (with the exception of the questionably executed Miitomo). Next on the docket: whether or not a mobile Zelda will keep the trend going.