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Pokemon No? Millions walking away from reality-game phenomenon

Just six weeks after it became a worldwide addiction, Pokemon Go users seem to have ... well, gone

Pokemon No? Millions walking away from reality-game phenomenon

Some are calling it “Pokémon No”. Millions of people are no longer using the augmented reality game Pokémon Go, only six weeks after it became a worldwide phenomenon.

The game’s daily active users, downloads, and engagement are all on the decline, according to an analysis from Axion Capital Management published by Bloomberg News in the US.

Daily active users have fallen from around 45m to around 30m since the peak in mid-July.

However a spokesman for Niantic, the company behind the game, said it “has not released any official numbers regarding downloads or players on Pokémon Go”.

The game became an instant hit on its release in early July. It turns the outside world into a gamer’s playground, overlaying reality with the cute and cheerful cartoon characters. Users walk around seeking out Pokémon and capturing them by chucking balls at them.

Popularity proved challenging for Niantic’s servers and lucrative for Nintendo, which owns part of the Pokémon Company. Players have already spent more than $US250m on in-app purchases.

Some credited the game with getting screen addicts out of their homes and into the streets, encouraging healthy exercise, rediscovering neighbourhoods, museums, galleries and monuments (although there have been objections about its use in inappropriate locations, from weddings to Aushwitz). It became way to meet, and to date.

Law enforcement officials became concerned that sex attackers or would-be robbers might use the game’s features to lure unsuspecting players into danger, and there were many reports of people hurting themselves while walking around, glued to their phone screens.

Two weeks after release, the Survey Monkey analytics company decided the game had already peaked, releasing charts showing that daily active users, downloads, and consumer interest were trending down.

“Previous blockbuster titles Candy Crush and Draw Something took months to gain momentum, gather tens of millions of users, and hit peak usage,” wrote Survey Monkey blogger Robbie Allen. “Pokémon Go achieved the same thing in a single week.”

Niantic is releasing an update for Android and iOS devices. The update will include a new feature called Pokémon Appraisal and the company promises “several new and exciting features to come in the future of Pokémon Go”.

Bloomberg’s report said the figures should calm the worries of investors concerned that the game was pulling users away from other popular apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

Axiom’s senior analyst Victor Anthony adds, “The Google Trends data is already showing declining interest in augmented reality, whereas interest in virtual reality remains high.”

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