Pokemon Go demonstrates a high interest of the Russian market in foreign mobile game trends

Based on the fact that 70% of smartphone users are located in emerging markets, one important conclusion comes up: the number of users is not the determining factor of market prospects. Moreover, the question of which markets consider as developing and promising, is debatable. Among these uncertain countries for the mobile community is Russia.

The views on the Russian market benefits are divided exactly in half. Some experts believe that the market collapses, the same number of experts says about the growth. But it is obvious that the Russian market has sufficient capacity. In addition, local businesses actively use foreign trends and by this promote them among locals.

At the peak of popularity today – Pokemon Go, a game that needs no introduction and is breaking all records for downloads. Despite this, the game is available only in a few countries. Russian users are among the ‘wild’ lovers of novelties and trends, and look forward the launch. However, already today Russian users actively look for Pokemons in the vast Russian cities, changing geo in iOS App Store and downloading APK Mirror version for Android. A week after the game launched on the foreign markets, Russian entrepreneurs engaged in advertising campaigns, maintaining the trend. For example, ‘’Roketbank’’ sends bonus points to customers’ accounts for each Pokemon caught in their banks branches.

What is the key of the sensational game success? Maxim Eremenko, a creative director of Plarium Kharkov (Ukraine), shared his opinion with vc.ru. Rebound Mobile translates.  

‘‘For us, the success of this game looks a little crazy.
But I am sure that the most surprised one is Nintendo itself.

”In my opinion, it would be very hard to repeat the phenomenal success of Pokemon Go with a direct cloning. Several factors came together very successfully.

First of all, over the years of Ingress existence under the wing of Google, Niantic Labs has managed to create perhaps the most powerful geo-location engine in the world in terms of gameplay and an array of accumulated data. At the same time, they perfected all the processes associated with the maintenance of this type of MMO games: from balance settings to work with a community. This is a very experienced team, unique in its kind.

Secondly, we shall look at the history of the Pokemon franchise games. Firstly, as we all remember, it started in 1996. Hence, the average age of people who were obsessed with Pokemon on Game Boy in school is our favourite, free-to-play target audience, age. And there is another non-obvious fact: the gameplay on the Game Boy was a proto-AR. Pokemon fans got used to the fact that it is not just playing on a coach at home but on the street with a device in hands, interacting with other people. So, a franchise core-audience was ready to play on smartphones. In addition, this game process perfectly lies on a setting.

Thus, without an experienced team, a cool gameplay (and Ingress has very cool addictive gameplay) and a very strong IP, you will not make anything special with a direct cloning. There are dozens of geolocation games, even Ingress was a slight copy of Shadow Cities, and so far, did not become a profitable one. Maybe iconic, yes, but not profitable.

On the other hand, there are other brands, for example, endless clones of Pokemon, like Digimon, or such a giant and a AR-games lover – Lego. Most likely, we will see attempts to repeat the success of Pokemon Go, especially for local target markets which is Asia. Pokemon, Game Boy and Ingress did not have a wide popularity among the Russian-speaking audience (although I know that even in the remote Siberian villages Ingress is played, where there are two whole portals for 20 km). For us, the success of this game looks a little crazy.

But I am sure that the most surprised one is Nintendo itself.”


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