This game is nine years old, but currently exceeds 500 million downloads on Android and peta it on iOS: its name is ‘Pou’
It was 1996 when a modest startup called Bandai launched one of the most popular toys of all time: the Tamagotchi. There is no updated data, but by 2017 some 82 million Tamagotchi, there is nothing. Now they have been forgottenalthough with some punctual revival) due, in part, to mobile phones. There are countless games for mobile phones, now even with console graphics, but there is one that, nine years after its launch, he keeps on hitting it.
It was created by a 24-year-old young Lebanese developer (back in 2013) named Paul Salameh. He is not exactly active in social networks and his website is far from what one might expect from the developer of a successful game, but nine years later he has the honor of being the developer of one of the most popular mobile games in history. ¿’Fortnite‘? ¿’League of Legends‘? No, ‘For‘.
An invaluable potato
Paul Salameh created ‘Pou’ based on himself and a potato design. We can discuss if you want what it looks like, but it is not something that affects the game itself. Paul himself explained in Wamda that the name of the popular mascot is, really, its nickname. His name is Paul, but his friends call him Pou, so Pou. So personal is the pet that even the sounds themselves they were recorded by the same developer.
The success of ‘Pou’ was overwhelming. In 2013 Bandai launched Tamagotchi L.i.f.e to try to return to the golden age of Tamagotchi on mobile, but by then Pou had already reached number 1 in games for children in 65 countries. Today it is available in 175 countries, has been translated into 22 languages, accumulates more than 500 million downloads on Android and is the fourth most popular paid application on the App Store in Spain.
The game is simpler than the mechanism of a jug: you have the pet, you take care of it, you pamper it, you play with it and you access its minigames to get coins and buy it a nice hat, a little suit or any story to decorate the avatar, the room, etc. Of course, you can buy these coins separately by the modest price of between 1.09 euros for 2,000 coins or 27.99 euros for 125,000 coins. And that’s where the money comes from.
How much? It depends on the platform we are looking at and the country, but globally, and only in February 2021, ‘Pou’ has been downloaded four million times on Android and has generated $ 10,000 in revenue, according to Sensor Tower estimates. The same consultant dice that on iOS, where the game is worth 2.29 euros, it has been downloaded 20,000 times and has generated an income of about $ 50,000.
Not bad at all for a game that is nine years old and, if you put it in context, has nothing to do with today’s mobile games: open world, creepy graphics, competitive online, high FPS support and controls. .. ‘Pou’, however, is still there, at the top of the table, like an ever-present game that little or nothing is said about today and as proof that sometimes the simplest ideas work best.
This article is part of a weekly section of Jose Garcia dedicated to approaching technology from a more relaxed, personal and informal point of view that we publish in Engadget every Saturday.