The game, which marries a classic 20-year old franchise with augmented reality, allows players to walk around real-life neighborhoods while seeking virtual Pokemon game characters on their smartphone screens – a scavenger hunt that has earned enthusiastic early reviews.
In the United States, by July 8 – two days after its release – it was installed on more than 5 percent of Android devices in the country, according to web analytics firm SimilarWeb.
It is now on more Android phones than dating app Tinder and its rate of daily active users was neck and neck with social network Twitter, the analytics firm said. The game is also being played an average of 43 minutes a day, more time spent than on WhatsApp or Instagram, it added.
As the game took the U.S. by storm, Nintendo’s shares surged by a quarter in value on Monday to their highest level since November. They have gained 36 percent since Thursday’s close with the initial momentum coming from the game shooting to the top of free app rankings in the Apple U.S. iTunes store.
The game has been released in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Launches for other countries including Japan – one of the world’s biggest gaming markets – are due soon.