Pokémon Go, a new smartphone game based on the blockbuster Pokémon franchise, has amassed more daily users than dating app Tinder in the two weeks since its release. It has also surpassed Facebook and Twitter in user engagement, or how long people spend using it. An estimated 9.5m people log on to the game every day, and that number looks set to rise following the game's release in the UK yesterday and Germany earlier this week. Our chart shows the impact of its phenomenal success on shares in video game titan Nintendo (jp: 7974) - which holds stakes in both of the game's creators, Niantic and The Pokémon Company - and Bango (BGO), whose technology allows users to charge in-game purchases to their phone bills.
Source: S&P Datastream
Nintendo's stock has surged more than 85 per cent since the game's release, while shares in Bango have soared over 40 per cent. Although Nintendo won't profit significantly Pokémon Go, investors are betting that it can turn other beloved gaming franchises - including Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda and Donkey Kong - into best-selling smartphone games. Meanwhile, Bango's chief executive penned a blog stating that the game is a multi-billion dollar opportunity and Pokémon coins, which players can purchase with real money to buy in-game items, are "selling very well".
Pokémon Go has captured millions of people's imagination because of its innovative gameplay, and is likely to herald a new generation of smartphone games. Google spin-off Niantic's augmented reality technology uses a player's smartphone camera to superimpose Pokémon - virtual monsters - onto the real world. The game also uses Google Maps to track players' real world location and assign Pokémon to suitable environments. For instance, Squirtle - a water-type Pokémon - can be found in waterways. While players keep their eyes peeled for rare Pokémon, investors should remain on the lookout for opportunities to capture growth in this nascent market.