Spanish fans play the highly addictive Pokemon Go game during a gathering in central Madrid, Spain to play the computer game. Photograph: Daniel Ochoa de Olza/AP Alex Hern
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Friday 30 September 2016 10.03 BST Last modified on Friday 30 September 2016 10.04 BST
If you playedPokémon Go anywhere near its launch date, you probably noticed that it broke. A lot.
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There was always the suspicion that its instability was because the servers were falling over under the weight of the traffic, but today, there’s confirmation of that, from the unlikely source ofGoogle.
Pokémon Go was the first app to use a new feature of the search firm’s cloud computing platform, that let Pokémon developers Niantic share responsibility for keeping the servers up with Google itself. Before the launch of the game, Niantic and Google set an expected traffic target, and a “worst case” scenario, about five times higher than that target.
In the end, traffic was 10 times higher than the worst case scenario, and 50 times higher than Niantic’s expectations. In fact, it was higher than Niantic’s expectations within 15 minutes of launching in Australia and New Zealand.
Google saysit managed to “seamlessly” add extra capacity to enable Niantic “to stay well ahead of their record-setting growth”, which is a vaguely rose-tinted recollection of the actual launch, although the company’s director of customer reliability engineering, Luke Stone, does concede that “Not everything was smooth sailing at launch!”
The app hasn’t quite kept up with its enourmous launch success, with monthly active users falling by almost 20 million people over the month since August 12, according to market analysts Apptopia. But that still leaves 32.4 million playing it as of mid-September, and given the economics of free-to-play games – which tend to make the majority of their income from a tiny, highly-engaged core of players – the app is likely to stillbe pulling in hundreds of millions of dollars a month.
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