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Augmented reality: Pokémon Go delivers $323 million in real-world economic impact

Pokémon Go fest events outpaced last year’s total and generate revenue towards local businesses
Augmented reality: Pokémon Go delivers $323 million in real-world economic impact
  • Pokémon Go Fest held three live events around the world in 2023
  • The event held in New York generated over $140 million in revenue to local businesses

Pokémon Go made its debut in 2016, and is arguably the game that truly brought AR games into the limelight. Niantic’sgame lets players worldwide embark on their own Pokémon journeys, capturing the creatures in the real world through the use of augmented reality.

Part of Pokémon Go’s success comes from the aptly named Pokémon Go Fest live events, which invite players worldwide to host cities for a weekend of Pokémon hunting. And not only do such events boost the games brand recognition and player's portfolio of Pokémon, they also have measurable beneficial effects to the locations in which they take place.

Pokémon events have already had a demonstrable effect on real-world economies, with Statista reporting last year that the events contributed $309 million to host cities in 2022, and now Niantic is reporting that the company has exceeded this achievement in 2023, with a massive $323 million spent at local businesses in the host cities of New York, London, and Osaka, including $73.8 million in tax revenue.

Participation is also up year-on-year, with over 194,000 players taking part in the events compared to 150,000 last year.

Exploring New York

Among the events was the Pokémon Go Fest event held in New York on the weekend of August 18, centred on Randall Island Park. Players spent a total of $140.1 million over the weekend, and generated $28.1 million in tax revenue, providing a sizable boost to local businesses. 74,000 tickets to the event were sold, with average spend of $783 per visitor. Over the course of the event, visitors walked an average of 18.6 miles, and a total of 35 million pokemon were caught - around 472 per person.

“New York City is the world’s stage when it comes to live events,” said president and CEO of New York City Tourism + Conventions Fred Dixon. “The Niantic team proved to be great partners in our efforts to bring the Pokémon Go Fest to the five boroughs this past summer, and the results of the economic impact study speak for themselves. The event created an opportunity to showcase the city to players and fans from around the world, 21% of whom were first-time visitors. We look forward to welcoming them back to NYC again in the future.”

“Randall’s Island Park Alliance was thrilled to have Pokémon Go make its inaugural appearance at our park this summer,” said Randall Island Park Alliance president Deborah Maher. “The overwhelming engagement and excitement of the attendees was wonderful to witness. We are grateful to the community and fans that made Pokémon GO Fest 2023 a success and hope to welcome them back in the future.”

We listed Niantic as one of the top 50 mobile game makers of 2023.