Finally, a game designed to be played in your sleep.
Is Pokémon Sleep on the verge of becoming another massive hit for the Pokemon franchise? The numbers seem to suggest so! Within two weeks of its July 17 launch, the mobile game has already amassed 3 million global downloads.
So, what exactly is Pokémon Sleep? It's a mobile game that you keep open next to you while you sleep. By listening to your breathing patterns, the app determines your sleep habits and rewards you in the morning with newly discovered Pokémon that share similar sleep patterns. You also earn biscuits and berries as you play, which you can use to feed and level up your Pokémon.
Pokémon Sleep has become a sensation in the gaming world, ranking as a top 5 gaming app in 13 countries and claiming the coveted position of the #1 app overall in Japan.
SensorTower estimates that downloads are growing at a rate of 200-300k per day, with daily revenue surpassing $130,000. Whether the long-term monetization strategy will focus on building the Pokémon IP for Nintendo or through in-app purchases remains to be seen.
The app’s social graph allows users to share and compare sleep data with friends, and surprisingly, many users are even connecting with total strangers for this purpose. What’s more fun than sharing your sleep patterns with your friends? (Yawn.)
Gamifying wellness-focused habits, particularly sleep compared to physical activity, is a compelling concept. The game makes sense in combination with Pokémon Smile, which incentivizes children to brush their teeth. (If only there was one that encourages children to do their homework…)
Admittedly, there are some drawbacks to the game that need to be addressed. First, it seems to target a younger audience, which might not resonate with adult players. Additionally, some users are disappointed that they can't use their own wearables for sleep tracking and have to physically place their phones on their beds. This issue might cause phones to overheat and affect battery life.
Nintendo’s decision not to integrate with other wearables fits their strategy of emphasizing their own hardware and maintaining a closed ecosystem. There is potential for monetization through the sale of Pokémon GO Pluses. In the game, Snorlax can be seen using a device similar to Pokémon GO Plus, which subconsciously plants the idea of owning such a device in the player's mind.
Overall, the success of Pokémon Sleep is validation that a "sleep game" can indeed become a viable and distinct category of games. With its blend of sleep optimization, nostalgia from Tamagotchi, and the enduring popularity of the Pokémon IP, Pokémon Sleep has the potential to become another smash hit for the Pokémon Company.