Three major entertainment franchises beloved by Gen Z and Millennials are getting the Pokémon Go treatment, and one of them could be the next big mobile gaming hit…
Three years ago, Pokémon Go was released and became a mobile gaming sensation that has been matched by few since. In fact, arguably only Fortnite has created a craze on the same level. Even years after its release, it’s still a huge money-maker: It’s estimated that the game has earned $2.01 billion since its 2016 launch, and it’s not stopping anytime soon. In fact, Pokémon Go raked in $84.8 million in September 2018 alone and downloads jumped 100% year-over-year, according to Sensor Tower.
Our State of Gaming research found that 63% of 13-36-year-olds are playing mobile games weekly or more–and role-playing games like Pokémon Go are second on the list of their favorite game types. Mobile gaming is a major pastime—and even a stress reliever—for Gen Z and Millennials, and they’re clearly spending plenty on it. So it’s no surprise that there’s a rush of entertainment brands making their foray into the mobile gaming space. Just one example: Snapchat is launching multiplayer mobile gaming with six debut titles, which include a racing game and battle royale-style shooter (à la Fortnite), that will be monetized via opt-in ads that offer player perks.
But it was the combination of young consumers’ nostalgia for a beloved existing franchise and the (at the time) new, exciting use of AR that made Pokémon Go such a hit. Now, some other major entertainment franchises are following in the game’s footsteps, releasing AR-fueled mobile experiences centered around some of Gen Z and Millennials’ favorite fictional worlds. Here are three soon-to-be-released apps that could be the next Pokémon Go-sized success:
HARRY POTTER: WIZARDS UNITE
Starting June 21st, Harry Potter fans will be able to take to the streets to duel with AR magic with the new mobile game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite—which is from the makers of Pokémon Go. According to The Wall Street Journal, the game lets Potterheads search the IRL world for magical objects and creatures using a similar gameplay as Niantic’s original AR hit. But they have made some improvements in their attempt to strike gold twice. In addition to tech upgrades interactive elements are being placed in “pedestrian-friendly locations” to avoid accidents. Polygon reports that the game brings magic to ordinary spaces, allowing fans to discover secret access to iconic Potter-locales like Diagon Alley, and interact with magical creatures like the Nifflers, while trying to solve an in-game mystery. We first wrote about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite back in 2017 (!), when Niantic first announced they were working on the game. Two years later, and the much-anticipated release is tomorrow—so we’ll very soon see if the franchise’s Next Level Fandom fandom comes out in force for the new mobile experience.
Minecraft is getting a Pokemon Go-style augmented reality mobile game. TechCrunch reports that in Minecraft Earth, the real world is “Minecraftified” and filled with collectable resources, chest, and other “tappables.” Players can place a virtual “build plate” on their desk or other surface, using what they’ve collected to craft a mini world. Then, they can expand their creation to life-size proportions, allowing them to stroll through the castles or pig-filled pastures of their pixelated dreams via their smartphone screens. Basically, it brings the building-block free play of the original to the AR space. Minecraft is already a massive mobile success: the mobile version of the game made more money than ever in 2018, raking in $110 million a 7% from 2017, according to Sensor Tower. In addition, 48% of that revenue came from the U.S., followed by just 6.6% from Great Britain. With the Minecraft Effect still holding on young gamers, and Gen Z & Millennials still ranking the game as one of their favorites, Minecraft Earth could be set up to be a hit. The game could be ready for play sometime this summer—also setting it up to be competition for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Yes, we know, we won’t stop talking about Stranger Things. But with season three of the show premiering in just a few weeks, and promotions galore making headlines, there’s a lot to talk about—and now there’s even more ways that fans will be able to interact with Hawkins and the Upside Down. Mashable reports that the show will be getting a new mobile game that’s, yes, being compared to Pokémon Go. Details about the location-based AR puzzle game were released during E3, and a press release from studio Next Games announced the game will focus on “Stranger Things’ rich and intense themes like friendship and supernatural adventure.” The game will reportedly be “in the style of an 80’s Saturday morning cartoon” and allow players to explore the Upside Down and work together to fight evil. The Stranger Things mobile game isn’t expected to be released until 2020—we’d guess in time to tap into anticipation for season four of the series.
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