Game developers around the world watched in astonishment as Pokemon Go, a mobile version of the beloved 1990s game from Nintendo Co., became an instant hit -- rocketing to the most downloaded app on both Apple and Android phones.
It’s too soon to say if its success will reshape the $25 billion mobile gaming industry, but this much is certain: The surprise hit will inspire copycats.
“You’re going to see other developers potentially changing their pipeline to incorporate augmented reality or location-based technology,” said Mike Olson, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos. “Those plans are probably being put in place right now.” He said he wouldn’t be surprised if Activision Blizzard Inc. added such functionality to Skylanders, its role-playing game featuring toys.
Pokemon Go has been released only in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand so far, and already nimble developers are making lookalike apps for places where the game isn’t available. A few cashing in on the craze have topped mobile-download rankings from Germany and Spain to Singapore and Sweden, according to market researcher App Annie. The game Citymon Go -- led by a character with a striking resemblance to Pokemon’s Pikachu -- became China’s most downloaded Apple iOS game in the past few days. Go Pikachu, a board-game populated with cartoon monsters, is now one of the 20 most-downloaded games on wandoujia.com, an Android app store.