Nintendo’s stock is up 25 percent today as investors react to the worldwide phenomenon of Pokémon Go, the new mobile game that has captured the attention of fans around the globe, using augmented reality to turn the real world into a landscape for gaming.
App of the Week: Incredibly immersive Pokémon Go changes the game
That translates into an extra $7.5 billion in market value for the Japanese company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
Pokémon Go is already generating more downloads and revenue than any other iPhone app in the United States, and had been installed on more than 5 percent of all Android devices in the U.S. within two days of launch. For what it’s worth, that purported story about the accident caused by Pokémon Go was bogus, but the physical nature of the game is causing an “epidemic” of sore legs.
The development is fascinating because Nintendo has, for years, resisted the rise of smartphones, focusing instead on games for its own Wii consoles and Nintendo 3DS handheld devices. Nintendo launched its first smartphone app Miitomo earlier this year, to a tepid response from gamers, but the reaction to Pokémon Go proves the value of bringing a beloved Nintendo franchise to the phone.
It's 11:50 p.m. on a Sunday and there are packs of people around UW walking around playing Pokémon Go. This is nuts pic.twitter.com/eWIQHUEgdJ
— Taylor Soper (@Taylor_Soper) July 11, 2016
The game was created by developer Niantic in partnership with Nintendo and The Pokemon Co. Nintendo has a large stake in Pokemon and works closely on the flagship franchise. The big question is the long-term financial impact on Nintendo, which analysts say could be slow to materialize. The app is free to download for Android and iOS, but it also features in-app purchases.
Of course, as Nintendo looks at how to capitalize on this momentum, there’s an easy answer for what to do next, and it’s one word: Mario.