Jul 3, 2019

Niantic's Harry Potter mobile game has yet to cast a spell

Image courtesy of Niantic/WB Games

Take the location-based engine and augmented reality smarts that produced Pokémon Go, mix in the popularity of Harry Potter and you have a guaranteed hit, right? That's the logic behind Niantic's recently released Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, but early results suggests the new game may have a tough time living up to expectations.

By the numbers: It's down to No. 73 on App Annie's chart of top-grossing iOS apps, far below Pokémon Go at No. 15 and also below a different Harry Potter title from Jam City.

  • Apple's own chart has it at No. 52, ahead of the other Harry Potter game, but well below Pokémon Go at No. 7.
  • The app has more than 5 million downloads on the Google Play store, but isn't featured at all in its chart of top-grossing games.

Why it matters: Niantic's goal is to have a platform powering a range of homegrown and third-party-developed titles using its engine. To reach its long-term goals it would ideally like to show it can generate and sustain multiple fan bases simultaneously. It did that to a degree by maintaining its first game, Ingress, even while Pokémon Go took off.

Yes, but: Almost anything will look lackluster compared to Pokémon Go, which was an overnight smash. Even if Wizards Unite isn't an immediate viral hit, it can still be a lucrative game, but it will have to show steady growth over time.

  • And, as long as Niantic can keep people using its platform (in any incarnation), it will build on its market-leading — and proprietary — real-world AR platform.

What they're saying: Venture capitalist Megan Quinn, whose firm Spark Capital is an investor in Niantic, says the Harry Potter game needn't match Pokemon's early success.

  • "Pokémon Go wasn’t our measuring stick for the game. ... We’re enthusiastic about the AR-real world platform that Niantic is building."

The big picture: Niantic says it has a multiyear storyline for Wizards Unite and a number of marketing efforts, including promotional tie-ins with AT&T and mall giant Simon plus a live event in Indianapolis over Labor Day.

Go deeper: Pokémon Go ups its augmented reality game

Go deeper

World coronavirus updates: Total cases surge to over 700,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now than more than 700,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 32,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Saturday he would issue a "strong" travel advisory for New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 8 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 704,095 — Total deaths: 33,509 — Total recoveries: 148,824.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 132,637 — Total deaths: 2,351 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked" people
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reported 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reported almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "really panicked people"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press conference Sunday that President Trump's unexpected Saturday announcement of a possible "short-term" quarantine of New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to curb the spread of the coronavirus "really panicked people."

Why it matters: Though Trump ruled out the mandatory quarantine later that day, Cuomo said people still called "all night long" asking about the comments and many likely fled the New York area — possibly spreading the virus further.