'Pokémon Go' sets download record on Apple's App Store

Viral hit Pokémon Go is catching all the records for downloads, roughly two weeks after its launch captivated smartphone owners worldwide.

On Friday, Apple confirmed Pokémon Go was downloaded more times during its first week than any other app in the App Store's history.

The milestone is yet another smashed by the popular mobile game for iPhones and Android devices, where players attempt to catch "pocket monsters" called Pokémon. Combining augmented reality and GPS tech, players explore their surroundings and capture the creatures as if they exist in the real world.

As of Tuesday, the game topped 30 million downloads worldwide, becoming the fastest mobile game to reach the 10 million download mark, says research firm SensorTower. The app has generated more daily usage than higher-profile apps including Facebook and Snapchat.

It's also raking in an unprecedented amount of money for The Pokémon Company and developer Niantic. SensorTower says the game has generated $35 million in net revenue.

Ten days into its run in the U.S., the game represented half of all mobile app revenue, says Laura Martin, an analyst with Needham and Company. "It made as much money as all other mobile apps combined."

Martin projects Apple could net as much as $3 billion in revenue over the next 12 to 24 months, based on a 30% cut of in-app purchases made through the game on iOS devices.

Launched on July 6, the Pokémon Go craze picked up steam in the U.S. before launching through the rest of Europe. On Friday, the game made its long-awaited debut in Japan, home of Pokémon as well as the world's second largest mobile games market.

As part of its launch in Japan, The Pokémon Company and Niantic have partnered with fast food chain McDonald's on sponsored locations, where Poké Stops or Gyms featured in the game will be based at several McDonald's restaurants in Japan.

The arrival in Japan comes at an important time for the game. According to SurveyMonkey, Pokémon Go may have reached its peak in the U.S. The number of daily active users has trailed off since July 14, while search interest in the game has slowly dipped since July 16.

However, SurveyMonkey analyst Robbie Allan says it's still early enough for Pokémon Go to maintain its feverish pace. "As we've seen from other games there's still every chance that the game attracts millions of users (and makes millions of dollars) for months, and even years to come."

Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.

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