Pokémon Unite looks to an expanded audience on mobile

The Pokémon Company launched Pokémon Unite on the Nintendo Switch back in July, and the free-to-start MOBA title saw 9 million downloads through mid-September. Now, however, the game has arrived on iOS and Android mobile devices, potentially opening the newest Pokémon to an audience of billions of smartphone owners worldwide.

Importantly, producer Masaaki Hoshino outlined how the mobile version will offer full cross-platform support and account linking capability across mobile devices and Nintendo Switch. Cross-platform support is a feature that more and more gamers have come to expect today thanks to titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, Rocket League, and Call of Duty: Warzone.

Pokémon Unite was developed by China’s Timi Studio, a developer with a track record of success on mobile that includes Call of Duty: Mobile (over $1 billion in revenue) and Honor of Kings (over 100 million daily active users as of November 2020). Critics have given Unite mixed reviews, but the combination of Timi’s expertise on mobile and the pure strength of the Pokémon brand cannot be ignored. The Niantic-developed Pokémon GO has generated billions in revenues for The Pokemon Company, which has enjoyed a nearly 20% profit surge during the pandemic.

Whether Unite will see GO-like success remains to be seen, but mobile gamers love Pokémon just as much as console/PC gamers. Moreover, because the game is a MOBA, there’s a possibility that competitive gaming could give Unite an esports boost.

According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®,25% of mobile gamers consider themselves a fan of the Pokémon franchise, almost equal with the 26% of console/PC gamers who are fans. This puts Pokémon fanship ahead of other blockbusters like Minecraft (20% on mobile, 23% on console/PC), Fortnite (14% on mobile, 15% on console/PC), and Animal Crossing (13% on mobile, 15% on console/PC).