Has the Pokémon Go phenomenon faded? Here’s what super users are saying

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Pokemon Go players
Pokémon Go players took over a park in Bellevue, Wash., in July. (GeekWire Photo / Alysse Bryson)

It took all of one day for Pokémon Go to reach the top of the charts in both the App Store and on Google Play. With such a rapid rise, Pokémon Go had the majority of media outlets trying to figure out what it was, and whether or not it would last.

Today, the app stands tall as the number one smartphone game in history. It remains the top grossing app on iOS and Android. Although it’s no longer the most-downloaded app on either platform, it’s still one of the most used apps overall, with 6% of Android users playing it daily, surpassing Twitter, Pandora, and Spotify.

After its launch, the game’s popularity was visible in parks, popular tourist destinations, and probably around your neighborhood. Kids and adults alike ventured out into the augmented reality world to catch Pokémon and capture Pokémon Gyms. That still happens, to some extent, but the fanfare may be starting to fade.

Back in July, about a week after the game was released, I spent the day with a group of passionate Pokémon Go players to shed light on the culture surrounding the phenomenon. The event was called Pokémon Go Downtown, and players from far and wide came in droves to meet one another and play the game. I caught up with some of those same people, to find out if they are still as fired up about Pokémon Go as they were when it first came out.

Event organizer Brandon Gross, in front in Pokémon hat. (Photo via Mee Minamoto)
Event organizer Brandon Gross, in front in Pokémon hat. (Photo via Mee Minamoto)

“I’d say a good chunk of the hype has died down and definitely some people have stopped playing,” said Brandon Gross, organizer of Pokémon Go Downtown. “I still see people on the street playing wherever I go, and posts about it all the time. So it might not be at the level it was, but it appears to still be very popular. I play on the way to and from work, and whenever I’m out and not driving. I don’t explicitly go out to play nearly as much though, because my roommates are mostly over the game.”

This was a common theme for the players I interviewed. They are spending less time actively going out of their way to play the game, but continue to play without disrupting the regular flow of their lives. While the initial excitement that got them to go out for Pokémon may be fading, they still play the game on a daily basis.

Amy Ostbo (At left)
Amy Ostbo, at left.

“I haven’t been going out specifically for Pokémon Go as of late. It has been way too hot, even at night. [But] I keep my phone in my pocket at work so I can hatch eggs,” said Amy Ostbo, a Pokémon Go player I first interviewed back in July. “I think it’s slowly losing popularity. My theory being that this late in the game, people are running out of Pokémon to catch.”

While the game is still popular among fans, it’s likely we will see fewer mass gatherings. While Pokémon Go meet-ups are still drawing crowds and you don’t have to travel far to find someone playing the game, it does seem like people are losing interest.

Gross said he tried to organize another meet-up, “but on a smaller scale, with less than 20 people.” He admitted, “it ended up being more of a hangout.”

Listen to GeekWire’s Generation App podcast: The Pokémon Go craze, explained

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