The Pokémon franchise is beloved by children around the world, but it’s certainly no child’s play when it comes to bringing in the big bucks.
Its latest augmented reality game, Pokémon Go could bring in an estimated US$3 billion (RM12.2 billion) in revenue for Apple Inc in the next one or two years, brokerage Needham & Co said.
While the game from Japan’s Nintendo Co Ltd <7974.T>, can be downloaded for free, iPhone users can use PokeCoins to buy additional features.
A pack of 100 PokeCoins costs 99 cents (RM4.02) in Apple’s app store, but the price can go up as much as $99.99 (RM406.45) for a pack of 14,500. Sales from these PokeCoins will make up a huge bulk of the revenue, the brokerage predicts.
Needham analyst Laura Martin said the brokerage believes that Apple keeps 30% of Pokémon Go’s revenue spent on iOS devices, suggesting an upside to earnings.
The hugely popular game had 21 million active users in the United States (US) alone as of July 18 – less than two weeks after going live.
Pokémon Go, which has been rolled out in 35 countries, is also available on Android devices.
Martin said that Pokémon Go’s ratio of paid users to total users was 10 times more than that of Candy Crush. The highly-addictive hit game from King Digital generated over US$1 billion (RM4.06 billion) in revenue in both 2013 and 2014.
Users in the US are even spending more time playing the game than they are on Facebook or WhatsApp, according to an app analytics firm Sensor Tower.
Electronics retailers have also seen a bump in sales of mobile chargers and charging cases since the launch of the game.
Earlier this week, Reuters reported that Apple’s shares had gained 5% in market value, or about US$25 billion (RM101.62 billion), since the launch of the game in the United States on 6 June. Meanwhile, Nintendo’s stock has nearly doubled.