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Is Pokemon GO Going To Be The First Game With A Subscription Fee in Apples App Store

Pokemon Go has been out for over a month now and its still going strong. Gamers are now full of tips and tricks on how to expand their Pokedex and collect those rare Pokemon. But a question on everyone’s minds – is the bubble going to burst, and when?

Myself, I played for a week or two, initially thought it was a great concept and very fun but then very quickly, I got very bored, and was spending quite a bit on coins for a buggy game. And its this that developers Niantic need to address. The best example was Angry Birds. It was a massive success. Everyone played it. But who plays it now? Is there an Angry Birds 2? What going on there?! No one knows and Pokemon Go could fall in the same way – very quickly.

So what could the solution be? Well, its looking like a subscription service could be the answer – and Pokemon GO could be the first mobile game to do this, selling the subscriptions through Apple’s App Store. Apple recently announced at WWDC that the company is now permitting subscriptions across all categories. As well as opening up the availability of subscriptions, Apple is also offering better incentives to developers for using them.


In order for a subscription service to work, Pokemon Go has to look like a viable long term platform for gamer’s. No one is going to want to subscribe to something at the risk of getting bored a few weeks later. There would also have to be a balance between what you do and don’t get for subscribing as the developers and Apple, will still want to make a good profit.

Pokemon Go is your typical “Freemium” style game. Free to download and play at a basic level, but if you really want to get the most out of the game (and collect all 151 Pokemon) you’re going to have to invest some real life cash at some point. If a balance can be struck, this is the perfect model for a subscription.

Users have reportedly been spending a total of $1.6m a day on in-app purchases. This spend is expected to decline at some point but does highlight that gamer’s are willing to pay to play this game, something Apple and Niantic will want to capatilise on – before the next big thing comes out!

Pokemon Go has a massive opportunity for expansive content thanks to decades of the franchise and they need to use this to grow and tempt subscirbers. Others way to tempt gamers into a monthly sign-up could be in-game incentives for subscribed Pokemon hunters, such as increasing back pack space, unique gym badges, exclusive Pokemon and items etc. The scope is there, if they get it right remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, every Freemium developer out there is going to have their eyes on Niantic as they wade into the world subscriptions.

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