After One Year, 4.4 Million In Japan Still Play 'pokemon Go'

After one year, 4.4 million in Japan still play 'Pokemon Go'

More than 4 million people in Japan were still playing "Pokemon Go" around the first anniversary of the smartphone app, and nearly half of the players were 40 or older, according to estimates.

Although the initial craze has subsided since it was released in Japan on July 22, 2016, the smartphone game is still second only to "Line: Disney Tsum Tsum" in terms of users in Japan.

On one evening early in July, a middle-aged man in a suit, a young couple and others were playing "Pokemon Go" at Tenpozan Koen park in Osaka’s Minato Ward. The park has been considered a "holy place" because players could easily find a rare monster there. The spot had been jam-packed with players on a daily basis about a year ago.

Jointly developed by Nintendo Co., affiliate Pokemon Co. and U.S.-based game company Niantic Inc., the GPS-based game has been downloaded more than 750 million times worldwide.

"It is said that 90 percent of smartphone games are deleted in 90 days," said journalist Munechika Nishida, an expert in the gaming industry. "But that is not the case with 'Pokemon Go’ because the (video game and anime) franchise has been enjoyed by fans for 20 years."

Research company Values Inc., which studies app usage trends, estimates that 10.8 million players in Japan activated the game at least once a month in August last year. The number dropped to 4.42 million in June this year.

However, 36 percent of the users played the game at least 25 days in June, up from 22 percent in August last year. That means the proportion of die-hard players has increased.

The majority of players in the world of smartphone games are young people, but for "Pokemon Go," 48 percent are 40 or older, according to the estimates.