Johannesburg - Popular gaming app Pokemon Go is less than a week old but it’s already challenging the biggest smartphone apps in the world.
The game - which is currently only officially available in the US, Australia and New Zealand - taps Pokemon’s story of players searching the world for “pocket monsters” to train and battle.
The app further uses augmented reality to allow gamers to wander their surroundings and unlock new Pokemon characters via location tracking on their Android or Apple smartphones.
READ: Pokemon Go is getting kids to go outside
And since its release on July 6, the app has surged in popularity, overtaking more established apps such as dating service Tinder, according to website traffic statistics company SimilarWeb.
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“On July 8th, only 2 days after the app’s release, it was already installed on 5.16% of all Android devices in the US,” said SimilarWeb in a blog post.
“If that doesn’t seem like much, consider that by Thursday, July 7th, Pokemon Go was already installed on more US Android phones than Tinder,” said SimilarWeb.
Meanwhile, the app is also outstripping other bigger apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram when it comes to user engagement, said SimilarWeb.
“As of July 8th, the app (Pokemon Go) was being used for an average of 43 minutes, 23 seconds a day, higher than Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat, and Messenger,” said SimilarWeb.
Pokemon Go is further biting at the heels of long-time Silicon Valley social network Twitter when it comes to daily active users.
“Over 60% of those who have downloaded the app (Pokemon Go) in the US are using it daily, meaning around 3% of the entire US Android population are users of the app,” said SimilarWeb.
“This metric, which we refer to as Daily Active Users has put Pokemon Go neck and neck with Twitter, and in a few more days, Pokemon GO will likely have more users Daily Active Users than the well-established social network,” added SimilarWeb.
Gamers outside of the US, Australia and New Zealand are also managing to download Pokemon Go unofficially via the APK mirror website.
Traffic on Apkmirror.com has subsequently exploded.
“Since the app’s release, traffic to APKmirror.com absolutely exploded, increasing from just over 600,000 visits on July 5th to over 4 million visits on July 6th,” SimilarWeb.
“The traffic to APKMirror has come from all over the world, with the US only accounting for 10.8% of the site’s desktop traffic over the last 28 days.
“After the US, users in Brazil are leading the charge to download Pokemon Go via an apk and are responsible for 8.2% of APKMirror’s traffic over the same time period,” SimilarWeb added.
The surge in popularity of Pokemon Go has also buoyed Nintendo by helping to add $7bn in market value to the Japanese game maker.
Pokemon Go was developed by Niantic, a former Google startup behind the popular location-based +Ingress game. Nintendo, together with its affiliate Pokemon and Google, last year invested in Niantic.