Notice anything different about this summer? How bout: there are fewer monster catchers around.
Last year's viral craze, Pokémon Go, is no longer flooding parks, churches and main streets with smartphone-toting users trying to catch the virtual monsters that overlay onto real-world streets, lawns and benches.
That doesn't mean the hit game and its money-making engine have gone away. The game has 65 million monthly active users, according to game developer Niantic Labs. That's a drop from its peak of 100 million in August, based on Apptopia estimates. But it's still high enough to stomp on the fanbase of giants like Candy Crush Saga (61 million) and Clash Royale (8.5 million). It's generated $1.2 billion in revenue, the research firm says, and gave part-owner Nintendo a needed boost to its brand.
It's also generated a surge of interest in augmented reality (AR), with tech giants including Apple and Facebook announcing plans to invest in the medium earlier this year. Most smartphone users who aren't chasing Pokémon around the mall may not have used AR. They may soon.
“It put validity to this notion augmented reality could be successful on a smartphone,” said Gartner analyst Brian Blau.