POKEMON Go is celebrating its first birthday after generating an estimated £75 million in revenue.

Released in the UK on July 14, a week after it was rolled out in the US, the app inspired game enthusiasts both young and old. Players frantically chased virtual Pokemon characters through real world locations across the globe.

Within one week, the record-breaking app had been down-loaded more than 10 million times.

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HARMLESS FUN?

THE app’s success was blighted, however, by fears that the real-life locations the app operated in were slightly less safe than the virtual ones many of its users were accustomed to.

Several reports from across the globe suggested that distracted gamers, unaware of their surroundings, had stumbled and driven into potentially life-threatening situations.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimated that as many as 110,000 incidents involving car drivers and pedestrians had been caused by Pokemon Go related distractions in a single 10-day period in the US.

One infamous online clip shows the driver of a car step out of his vehicle – which had seconds earlier ploughed into the back of a police car – holding his phone. He glances down at the device before remarking “that’s what I get for playing this dumb-ass game”.

Such incidents prompted police forces and governments to issue warnings about the potential dangers of the game, advising users how and when to play it.

A POKEMON LEGACY?

EVIDENTLY, the app made its mark. Aside from endangering the lives of its users, gaming enthusiasts believe it could have a lasting legacy.

Technology expert and editor of news site Pocket-lint Chris Hall said the app has “certainly set the stage for the next big mixed-reality hit”.

Industry powerhouse Apple, for instance, has recently unveiled plans to release software kits which will allow developers to create augmented reality (AR) content on their phones and tablets for the first time. Many in the industry believe the move is in no small part thanks to the success of Pokemon Go.

“Pokemon Go’s legacy remains, creating a game that was more social and involving real-world interaction like never before,” Hall explained.

Tech-savvy Hall even admitted that he remains a committed Pokemon Goer himself.

HERE TO STAY?

NEVERTHELESS, the future of the app is far from certain. According to a report by ComScore in April, as many as four out of five users have stopped playing.

“The Pokemon Go pandemic appeared to change the face of mobile gaming in 2016, but a year on, the fever has passed”, Hall said.

“While Pokemon Go still ranks as one of the top mobile games on Android and iPhone, its position continues to slip. Updates add new characters and features to feed the long-term Pokemon fans, but for many casual gamers, the addiction seems to have passed,” he added.

Despite assumptions that the game has lost its appeal, Pokemon Go remains the second highest-grossing app in the past year, according to research by Think Gaming and MusicMagpie.

The only other app to surpass £75 million in revenue was mobile gaming behemoth Candy Crush Saga.

MusicMagpie’s Liam Howley said: “Candy Crush Saga has been in the gaming world since 2012 and the money it makes shows just how much longevity it has.

“The same goes for all the other games in the top five, all of which have been out much longer than Pokemon Go.”

“Will we see the comeback of Pokemon Go with its anniversary update, or will it go down in history as a one-hit wonder? Only time will tell and we’ll be sure to keep an eye out for how well it does over the next few months.”