I teach marketing irl, and I can tell you that this Google-breakaway group does not seem to know how to manage the viral F2P phenomenon, at least during the first 8 months. Sure, they had moderate success with Ingress. But they controlled the pace and destiny of Ingress. But not entirely with the Pokemon GO.
So say they deliberately string on the base to draw out hype. Well, 6~7 months into the game, and more than half of the YouTuber (aka their marketing extensions) threaten to quit/move on (BenTimm, Mystic7, Reversal, Clare, MoreAliA, etc.). For more than 8 months, almost all players tell them that they need better communication, like hiring a Community Relations Manager. But no, they stick to their script of “hey, if we surprise them, they’d love it - it’s Pokemon! Can’t go wrong with that!” Well, instead of losing ~1/2 of the player base that they were gonna lose no matter what they do, they lost something like 3/4 of the player base. Some of that difference were paying customers. No matter which marketing angle you look at it, it’s massive loss in both the momentum and the revenue stream.
To ride the initial F2P hype right, you need to ride from one hype wave to the next, keep the contents rolling on a bi-weekly basis, yeah, like does quests that almost all F2P and/or MMO games do and prove that it is one of the primary ways to string on the base and keep them tethered. A success example to look at is how Warframe do bi-weekly community interactions, give out small but valuable items in-game, listen to the player base and actually ACKNOWLEDGE them, let players’ imagination participate in the game evolution, no matter how small a roll.
Ugh, don’t get me started on watching how to run the billion-dollar, genre-pioneering AR game in the worst imaginable ways in marketing…