Pokemon Go and Prisma, victims of the curse of overnight success?

By Shaoor Munir on
November 30, 2016
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If you weren’t living under a rock somewhere in the past year, you might have come across two very popular applications — Pokemon Go and Prisma. Although they are very different in nature, they have something in common. Both these apps rose to popularity overnight and are almost nowhere to be seen now. So what exactly became of them? What did they do wrong to lose the attention and popularity?

Overnight rise to fame

Both Pokemon Go and Prisma gained popularity in a very short span of time. Within just weeks of their release, these apps raked millions of downloads and were on top of their respective categories. Since then, their cumulative download stand near a billion unique downloads on all platforms.

But today, finding someone using Prisma or playing Pokemon Go is a rarity. According to reports, Pokemon Go user base has shrunk by more than 79 percent in the last few months. It is under a continuous slump since its peak in July 2016. This figure below shows the downwards trend of Pokemon Go for a whole month from July to November 2016.


Prisma depicts a similar picture of abandonment. So why did this happen with these two apps. Let’s take a look at some possible reasons for this.

Catering to a niche usage scenario

When you look at all time popular applications like Instagram, WhatsApp, Uber etc., one thing which they have in common is that their usage is recurring. A user is going to use WhatsApp daily to chat with his or her friends, Uber will be used every time the need of a ride arises and so on. But an app like Prisma will not be used again and again. Gamers are not going to play Pokemon Go every time they feel bored.

Becoming too mainstream

There is trend online that if something is too mainstream, you must hate it with a burning passion. It is unknown whether it is the hipster phenomenon or if the over dose of something induces disliking towards it. When Prisma was first released, people flocked towards it and the Facebook timeline was soon filled with prismafied selfies and pictures. Seeing so many pictures with Prisma filters caused a some sort of chain reaction which ultimately resulted in people hating anything with Primsa filter on it.

Failure to introduce new functionality

Pokemon Go and Prisma were launched with limited functionality to begin with. Pokemon Go had only 150 original Pokemon while Prisma had no functionality other than altering images. Fast forward to today and not a lot has changed. Prisma has introduced a few new filters while Pokemon Go still has the same number of Pokemon (with probably the addition of one Ditto). Failure to introduce these new features for users have caused users to lose interest in the apps. After all, how many times can you catch the same Pokemon?

People have low attention span

Final aspect, something that we should all agree on, is that people in general have low attention span. They will focus on one thing if it becomes popular and forget everything about it as soon as it becomes old news.

This concept of ups and downs in the life cycle of popular phenomenons is nothing new. This has been happening with celebrities, figure heads, songs and so on. But in this day and age, with internet connecting more and more people from all around the world, this is much larger in scale now. Pokemon Go and Prisma are the latest victims of this phenomenon and probably won’t be the last.

Image-source: Mobile Action

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