Nintendo’s Pokemon series roared back onto Nintendo DS consoles in early 2011 and in that time frame, Pokemon clones on Facebook have seen a steady climb in monthly active users (though not necessarily in daily active users).
According to AppData, our traffic and growth tracking system for apps and developers, Monster Galaxy, Miscrits: World of Adventure, and even the newly-launched MinoMonsters saw a climb in MAU following Pokemon Black and White’s early March launch in the U.S. and Europe. MinoMonsters saw the strongest recent growth, nearly tripling its MAU to 114,196 as of March 24. Monster Galaxy enjoyed an approximate 18% uptick to almost 7.9 million MAU, while Miscrits increased by 8% to 1.4 million MAU.
Each of these three games follows the same format as existing Pokemon games: players find, receive, or capture monsters that they then direct to fight other monsters to the purpose of collecting more monsters. Where they differ is in level of polish and style choices. Gaia Online’s four-month-old Monster Galaxy has the most refined art and music while the newly-released MinoMonsters still uses very basic animations during battle phases and suffers from early phase bugs — although it’s built by a much smaller company, and does quite well considering the early stage it is at. You can get more gameplay details in our reviews for Monster Galaxy, Miscrits, and MinoMonsters.
Generally speaking, simple RPGs like Pokemon clones can monetize reasonably well. RPGs have a relatively smaller but devoted audience who purchase premium goods like time or energy power-ups and special items, as we go into detail on in our Inside Virtual Goods: The US Virtual Goods Market 2010-2011 report.
We’ll keep an eye on Monster Galaxy, Miscrits: World of Adventure, and MinoMonsters in the coming months to see if any gameplay changes occur now that Pokemon Black and White is hitting its sales stride. It’ll be interesting to see if the developers pursue changes that make their Pokemon clones look more like Black and White or somehow less like Pokemon in general. Innovation is admirable, but why mess with a winning formula?