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THE POKÉMON EFFECT

Pokémon Go’s predecessor, Ingress, has never been more popular

In this Monday, July 18, 2016 photo, people gaze at their smartphones as they play "Pokemon Go" in Jakarta, Indonesia. Indonesian authorities banned the playing of "Pokemon Go" from the presidential palace on Wednesday, July 20, 2016, as they voiced worries that the game could be a security risk. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)
AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana
Ingress is riding on the coattails of Pokémon Go.
By Alice Truong

Deputy editor

This article is more than 2 years old.

As the world’s rapt with Pokémon Go, the game’s predecessor, Ingress, is getting in on the action.

Ingress, which launched on Android in December 2013 and iOS the following year, serves as the foundation for Pokémon Go. Though there are differences between the two titles, both of which are developed by Google spinoff Niantic, the games center around real-world exploration. In Ingress, players seek out nearby points of interests and cultural landmarks called portals. In Pokémon Go, these locations are called Pokéstops, which are culled from Ingress’s location data.

As the chart above illustrates, Ingress saw a dramatic spike in downloads starting on July 6, the day Pokémon Go was released in the US, Australia, and New Zealand, according to data from Sensor Tower. In the months leading up to Pokémon Go’s launch, downloads for Ingress had hovered around 2,000 to 3,000 a day, but jumped to 16,000 on July 6. Downloads further accelerated on July 16, when it started amassing more than 100,000 daily downloads globally, a first for the app.

It’s by no means Pokémon Go status, which has racked up 35 million downloads in three weeks, but it’s yet another clear example of Pokémon’s midas touch. Since the game’s launch, Nintendo, which is a part owner of the Pokémon Company, has seen its market value soar, and McDonald’s Holdings in Japan, Pokémon Go’s first advertiser, likewise saw a 23% surge in its stock after it started giving away Pokémon toys in its Happy Meals. Field Trip, another Ingress game, is also experiencing the effect on a smaller scale, with downloads going from hundreds a day to about 5,000 a day.

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