How Niantic Can Make An Extra $1 Billion With Pokémon GO

Sometimes I think Niantic just doesn’t like making money.  This seems odd to say about a company that’s made nearly $2 billion on Pokémon GO.  Often I’ve heard fans complaining about Niantic doing things as a money grab.  I actually think quite the obvious.  I think they’re leaving  a ton of money on the table with simple features that they could get Pokémon GO’s most active players to very willingly plunk down money on.

I’m extremely lucky.  I live in the perfect area for Pokémon GO.  I’m not in the city so I can easily hold a gym (or multiple gyms) for the necessary time to get my 50 coins a day in the game.  I’m not in a rural area so I don’t have to worry about my Pokémon unintentionally holding a gym for a month.  I’m living the suburban dream.  I casually stick a few low tier Pokémon in gyms every day then collect the in game currency.  I don’t even have to worry about reviving or using potions because they’re usually recently caught Pokémon that I plan on transferring anyway.

At 50 coins a day that amounts to 350 coins a week or 18,250 coins a year.  That’s a cash equivalent of $182.50 if you don’t take into account the coin discount you get with larger dollar amounts in the shop.

With all those coins coming in on a daily basis I don’t spend much on the game.  That being said I’ve probably logged more hours playing this one game in the past two years than I have on nearly every other video game I’ve ever played all grouped together.  I could think of a lot of ways Niantic could force me to part with my Pokécoins quicker and run the risk of having to spend more real life money in game.

Here’s what I would gladly pay money for in Pokémon GO:

1.) Wider Sighting Radius

One frustration I often have with the game (and mentioned in my Pokémon GO Quality of Life Improvements article) if that if we’re around any number of Pokéstops we only see activity there.  We have no idea if there’s a Blissey just hanging out 150 feet away.  When playing at home I am often able to see Pokémon that are just a few feet away that my wife or kids cannot see due to subtle differences in their GPS drift.  Wouldn’t it be great if, as a paid feature, we could expand the radius?  Not infinitely, just enough to be able to casually catch Pokémon that were just a little farther away than what we currently have.

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins per 50 meters up to 500 extra meters
Total Cost:  2,000 Pokécoins

2.) Extra Infinite Incubators

This is something that any hardcore player and even a lot of casual player would gladly cash in coins for.  I know plenty of players that don’t buy incubators because of the temporary nature of them but would be more than willing to pay a lot more for an incubator that will last forever.  I’m sitting on tons of incubators and I still don’t use them unless there’s some sort of special egg event where my changes of actually hatching something decent are greatly increased.  If I could buy two more infinite incubators I’d certainly be using them all the time.  I don’t think you should be able to have nine, mind you, but an extra two would really help out people’s egg game.

Proposed Cost: 2,000 each, up to 2 additional incubators
Total cost: 4,000 Pokécoins

3.) Extra Egg Slots

It would also be a great feature to add an additional 3 or even 6 egg slots.  I’ve already proposed separating out 7km gift eggs into their own storage area but it would be great if you were also able to just hold more eggs in general.  7km eggs have definitely made egg storage a little crowded and the lack of variety in 7km eggs makes them fairly useless for anything other than gaining a little trade distance.

Proposed Cost: 2,000 each, up to to 3  additional slots
Total cost: 6,000 Pokécoins

4.) Extra Buddy Slots

Extra Buddy slots would also be a great feature.  In the main game you’re walking around with up to six Pokémon at a time.  Six Pokémon to train, develop, and get to work together.  I don’t know if we need a full six slots, two may suffice, but it would be great to have some additional slots available.  Perhaps even expanding the Buddy system to include actual training to raise battle readiness and stats.

Proposed Cost: 10,000 Pokécoins each, up to 2 additional slots
Total Cost: 20,000 coins

5.) Temporary Pokéstops

Every so often I’m in a spot where there’s just no Pokéstops.  Having the ability to plop down a Pokéstop for say 12-24 hours and have that introduce wild spawns and be a source of items would be incredible.  This could be particularly useful for people on vacation or in rural areas.  I’m not sure if these Pokéstops would be visible by other players (like lures) or just for the trainer who uses them (like incense) but either way this would be a great feature.  This isn’t something I would use every day but I can certainly think of occasions where this would be a great feature.

Proposed Cost: 10,000 Pokécoins for 24 hours
Total Cost: Limitless

6.) Extra Battle Parties

This is something I’d really wanted to see developed when it first rolled out and the raid bosses were fairly challenging.  With the whole Regice, Registeel, Regirock crew it doesn’t seem like selecting a Battle Party even matters.  However, if raids and the gym battle system were to be altered to make them a more challenging part of the game this would be something that would be really helpful to have going into battle

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins each, up to 15 additional parties
Total Cost: 3,000 Pokécoins

7.) Increased Pokémon Storage

With the release of Gen 4 imminent this is something I’m sure we’re going to see.  However, I’d be more than happy to increase storage to 3,000 slots and beyond.  With the introduction of trading and lucky Pokémon I’m far less willing to part with anything these days in the case I may want it for a friend in need.  Honestly I’d probably keep forking over 200 Pokécoins at a shot until the maximum storage is achieved no matter how high that number was.

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins per 50 slots, up to 3,000 slots
Total Cost: 6,000 Pokécoins

8.) Gift Storage

I only have 66 friends in Pokémon GO and managing it is already challenging.  Having the ability to bank more gifts would really keep me able to exchange gifts more frequently on a day-to-day basis and level up my friendships.  I don’t think you should be able to increase gift storage infinitely but an additional ten slots would make a huge difference.  I’d love to hear from someone that has 200 friends and see what their ideal gift storage would be.

Proposed Cost: 500 Pokécoins to go from 10 gifts to 20 gifts
Total Cost: 500 Pokécoins

9.) Pokémon Center Storage Unit

In the main series games there are Pokémon Centers where you can store items and Pokémon as well as healing them up and trading with friends.  If Pokémon Centers were introduced in Pokémon GO it would be a great way to have a storage unit where you could do the same.  Perhaps we’re getting greedy where 2,000 slots is not enough.  Sometimes I just don’t want to trash valuable items (rare candy, golden rasberries, TMs, etc.) but I also don’t want to be carrying them around all the time.  The ability to store them somewhere in the physical world where I could pick them up later when needed would be really cool.   It would also be cool to have some sort of exchange where you could trade items or sell to other players in game.

Proposed Cost: 200 Pokécoins for 50 slots up to 2,000 slots
Total Cost: 8,000 Pokécoins

10.) Golden Lures

We have super incubators, golden raspberries, and now silver pinap berries.  Why note an advanced lure that lasts longer?  This would be great paired with a temporary Pokéstop when in a remote area or on vacation.

Proposed Cost: 150 Pokécoins each, or bundled for savings

11.) Golden Incense

This would be the same as above.  I’m usually on the go when I’m playing but if I was stuck in an area where I wasn’t able to access Pokéstops or decent spawns this would be a great way to be able to sit back and catch Pokémon in conjunction with lures

Proposed Cost: 150 Pokécoins each, or bundled for savings

12.) More Research Storage slots

When research first came out the number of slots seemed fine.  With so much research now relying on special events, catching limited time shinies, and Spinda forms I find myself having to spin stops, check research, and trash tasks constantly.  It would be great to build a little more of a buffer up to make that process a little less tedious and I’d be willing to pay for that.

Proposed Cost: 500 Pokécoins each, up to 3 additional slots
Total Cost: 1,500 Pokécoins

The total cost of buying the max of all these additions (and one of each of the temporary items) comes to  61,300 Pokécoins.  That’s  $613 ($423 with the 100 Pokécoin discount).  That’s a huge sum of money.  Not everyone would buy everything but there’s a number of items there that I, for one, would be extremely likely to purchase.  There are some items on this list that, quite honestly, I wouldn’t have any interest in.  I’m just going on what I know other players would like to see.

Pokémon GO has about 65 million active monthly users and 5 million daily active users.  Even if a small fraction of these users bought a small fraction of these items Niantic would be swimming in even more cash.  The great thing about this game is that in its current form your ability to spend money on the game does not impact anyone else’s game experience.   There are maximum limits on competitive advantage.  Spending money really only improves your ease of playing.

We will see what Gen 4 brings and if any of these things will ever become a reality.

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