Data Point of the Week is AR Insider’s dive into the latest spatial computing figures. It includes data points, along with narrative insights and takeaways. For an indexed collection of data and reports, subscribe to ARtillery Pro.

Early performance results for Harry Potter Wizards Unite are in. The bad news is that it’s tracking far behind its forbear Pokemon Go. The good news is that it’s the second highest-grossing location-based game of all time with $12 million in its first month, according to Sensor Tower.

The good news probably outweighs the bad as this is a sizable revenue feat. And comparing it to Pokemon Go is perhaps unfair given the latter’s global strength in IP and pent-up/unfulfilled demand. The world hadn’t seen a Pokemon-themed mobile game in the smartphone era.

We previously reported about HPWU’s first day of usage and revenue, but this first month’s data provides a more complete picture. Though it’s pacing far behind Pokemon Go, it exceeds other strong-IP titles in location-based AR such as Jurassic World Alive and Ghostbusters World.

This begs the question of how other impending titles will fare. Minecraft Go has lots of potential, given a massive engaged base of players that demographically align with the camera forward and AR-ready gen-Z. It’s currently in the process of a slow rollout so we’ll have to wait and see.

Panning back further, there are interesting things happening in China (as always). Tencent’s Lets Hunt Monsters has actually outperformed HPWU in revenue if you zero in on just iOS. The game isn’t included in the above chart because it’s a China-only title, but it’s certainly worth watching.

As for how HPWU is raking in these dollars, the go-to model for mobile AR gaming is in-app purchases. Supported by our consumer survey research with Thrive Analytics, AR is too nascent to get people to pay upfront for apps. A more prudent approach is to ease them, a la freemium.

Another ongoing question is whether or not all that revenue is attributable to AR. AR in its narrow definition is a small share of gameplay in HPWU (and Pokemon Go). But if a broader definition of physical/digital cohesion (location dynamics, etc.) is applied, these titles count as “AR.”

Sticking to the theme of good news / bad news, the bad news is that things are so early and undefined. The good news is that things are so early and undefined. There will be lots of value creation as location-based AR gaming continues to grow into its own skin. We’ll be watching.

For deeper XR data and intelligence, join ARtillery PRO and subscribe to the free AR Insider Weekly newsletter. 

Disclosure: AR Insider has no financial stake in the companies mentioned in this post, nor received payment for its production. Disclosure and ethics policy can be seen here.

Header Image Credit: Niantic, Inc.