- "Pokémon Go," the app that helped to popularize augmented reality (AR) gaming worldwide in 2016, added in-game content to promote the box-office release of "Pokémon Detective Pikachu." While using the Go Snapshot camera, gamers may get photo-bombed by main character Pikachu wearing a detective hat, per a company announcement. The promotion runs through May 17, and the film premieres on May 10.
- Additionally, Pokémon creatures from the movie including Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Psyduck, Aipom and Snubbull will appear more frequently in the game. Players can join "raid battles" that challenge Pokémon with starring roles in the film, and customize in-game avatars with movie-themed items.
- The mobile game's revenue rose 15% to $65 million worldwide in April from a year earlier, Sensor Tower estimates. It lifted its app-revenue ranking to No. 7 from No. 10 a year earlier with its third annual "Eggstravaganza" virtual hunt for baby Pokémon hatching from eggs.
The hype surrounding "Pokémon Go" has mostly faded since its release three years ago, but that doesn't mean the game has lost its revenue-generating potential. Heavy promotion for the "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" movie is helping to introduce the mobile game of collecting virtual creatures to a new crop of tech-savvy kids this year. The movie has a 70% positive rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, which may bode well for solid results at the box office — and more downloads for "Pokémon Go."
By refreshing its content with characters from the movie and special events like the "Eggstravaganza," the hit mobile game has managed to revive revenue growth since last year. Sensor Tower estimated that spending on the game rose 33% to $270 million during the first four months of 2019, putting "Pokémon Go" on track to surpass $1 billion in revenue from Apple's App Store and Google Play this year.
Pokémon has been active with a number of cross-promotions this year. The brand this month released a mobile app that urges customers to visit select Target stores to collect in-game rewards. The Pokémon Pass app uses geolocation to notify players automatically of nearby rewards while they're shopping in Target stores. In the lead-up to the release of the "Pokémon Detective Pikachu" film, promotional tie-ins include AR experiences at 7-Eleven and promotional trading card packs that are only available at Target, Walmart and GameStop.