It's been a strange week for Pokemasters, dealing with armed robberies, dead bodies and even accidental exercise. And nobody is happier than Nintendo, whose market value grew by $US7.5 billion ($10 billion) in two days as stock surged because everyone got hooked on Pokémon GO. Nintendo's shares jumped by more than a quarter, to their highest level since last November. The game's become incredibly popular since its launch. In just a few days, Pokémon GO has already been downloaded more times than Tinder on Android, and it will soon overtake Twitter in daily active users. People are using the app for an average of 43 minutes a day, more than both Instagram and WhatsApp.
The growth is even crazier when you realise that Nintendo shouldn't even be getting all this credit. Nintendo only owes a third of the Pokémon Company (sad, right?) and the game itself was developed by the augmented-reality company Niantic, a Google spinoff. But Nintendo is the name most closely associated with Pikachu, Bulbasaur and the other Pokemon players have been obsessed with for decades, and so it's the company getting the recognition and the big boost.
Market value is one thing, but it's unclear how much cold, hard cash Nintendo will actually make off the app. It's free and this level of fanaticism simply can't last. But in-app purchases can be lucrative, and Pokémon GO is getting Nintendo's name out there again. For an early try at mobile gaming and move away from its core console business, well, let's just say it's done pretty well.