The world was swept up by Pokemon Go fever during the summer of 2016. Every single park, high street, and pretty much anywhere outdoors was littered with people staring at their phones. Not for the usual reasons, but in an attempt to catch AR Pokemon in the real world. While it might feel as if Pokemon Go's popularity fell off a cliff after that initial hype, that really couldn't be further from the truth.
Pokemon Go's developer Niantic is now worth $9 billion. Most of that wealth can be attributed to the success of its Pokemon game. Wizards Unite certainly can't take much of the credit. Niantic's Harry Potter game will shut down for good this month due to a lack of interest. Nevertheless, Pokemon Go continues to rake it in, which has got a lot of players asking if $9 billion isn't enough?
The reason that question has been posed is because information revealed via a datamine of an upcoming Pokemon Go update has revealed Google ads might be incoming. You can check out the placeholders lurking in Pokemon Go's yet to be rolled out 0.227.0 update below courtesy of PokeMiners. As you can see, some are banners that will likely appear at the top or the bottom of the screen, but one looks like it might well be a full page ad.
Although the update is yet to be applied, which means the Google ads might never arrive, Pokemon Go players are already voicing their concerns. Many are asking Niantic if the billions it's already making from Pokemon Go via in-app purchases and sponsored PokeStopes isn't enough. One player has revealed they have spent $3000 in-game since it launched more than five years ago, while others are threatening to leave if the ads are implemented.
Google ads are pretty commonplace in free-to-play mobile games. If they had been there on day one in Pokemon Go then no one would have batted an eyelid. The trouble is, Niantic has proved it can make billions from the game without them, which means adding them now does feel like a sign that despite the game's massive success, it still isn't enough. It might take some vociferous backlash if and when it happens, but Niantic could backtrack on the decision. It has gone back on other changes made to Pokemon Go in the past when trainers have voiced their displeasure.
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