Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has launched this past week to some underwhelming numbers, at least when compared to Pokémon GO. While it seems that Warner Bros. and Niantic thought the wizarding license would do well during its first week, it surprisingly did worse than Pokémon GO when it first launched.
At the moment, it appears that Wizards Unite has pulled in roughly $300,000 after the first 24 hours based on about 400,000 installs in the United States and the United Kingdom. Pokémon GO, meanwhile, had a staggering 7.6 million installs and an initial revenue of $2 million in the same 24-hour launch window. So, what could be contributing to the stark differences between the two beloved franchises?
The obvious answer might be related to the market being oversaturated. If one does not like Pokémon or wizards, then there are a variety of other games they can play. These include Ingress, which is also made by Niantic, Zombies, Run!, which mixes the Augmented Reality (AR) function with fitness, Zombies Everywhere, The Walk, Superhero Workout, SpecTrek, Clandestine Anomaly, Temple Treasure Hunt Game, Real Strike, Night Terrors, Field Trip, and Sky Guide. There are others as well, but these are the games that seem to have the most downloads and Niantic’s major competitors.
Consumers have a limited amount of time during their days, and the idea of playing more than one AR game that involves long walks simply isn't a reasonable expectation.
With that in mind, we need to consider that Niantic’s Pokémon GO and Wizards Unite look staggeringly similar since they use most of the same data points for their maps. Although the mechanics between the two games differ, players of both games need to spend time outdoors and can only reasonably devote time to one or the other.
However, Niantic expects great things from Wizards Unite and hopes to cannibalize users from Pokémon GO.
Finally, there is the serious issue of Spell Energy. This is the basic unit needed to perform almost every task in the game and was initially set up to starve players, forcing them to either pay real money to continue playing or quit altogether. Niantic addressed this by increasing the amount of Spell Energy that players acquire, but it still remains a problem.
This may be reason enough to explain why players aren't getting involved in the new game, as many gamers are getting tired of pay-to-win mechanisms.
On the other hand, Wizards Unite might simply not be as big of a draw as Pokémon GO due to its content. Most Harry Potter fans want a game that allows them to duel and play Quidditch, and it doesn't seem like Wizards Unite is ready to bring that to the table just yet. This might relegate the player base to a smaller number of die-hard fans for the time being.