The Tech Stack Powering Pokémon GO

August 2, 2016 Joe Vignolo

It’s official: Pokémon GO has conquered the known universe mobile gaming. An army of Pokémon hunters, intent on “catching them all,” has invaded our homes, our offices, our nightmares. As you can see from the image below, the Datanyze crew is obsessed with the augmented-reality app. Who knows how many hours of productivity have been lost trying to snag a Snorlax or wrangle the rare Rhyhorn?


According to app-market intelligence firm, Sensor Tower, the game has been downloaded more than 75 million times across iOS and Android platforms since its July 5th launch, making it the fastest mobile game to reach that level of adoption. And it’s still unavailable is massive markets like China, Russia and South Korea.

However, the rapid rise of Pokémon GO has seen its fair share of growing pains, real and virtual alike. Accidents and crimes involving players continue to make headlines, and frequent outages (most likely due to server stress caused by unprecedented demand) plague would-be Pokémon trainers. But the game’s positive effects vastly outweigh the Poké-problems that’ve popped up. The game encourages people to explore the real world and interact with other players, promoting exercise and meeting new people, both of which can benefit a person's overall physical and mental health.

So we here at Datanyze wanted to know what technologies power Pokémon GO. We used our Chrome extension to peek under hood and uncover the tech stack behind the mobile gaming blockbuster. Here’s what we found:

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 12.18.30 PM.png

The Technology Stack of Pokémon Go

  • Advertising: Google ADmob SDK, Google DoubleClick
  • Audio: FMod Audio
  • Game Engine: Unity 3D -- this is a common engine used in some of the most popular games offered on Google Play. Angry Birds, Plants vs. Zombies & Fruit Ninja all use Unity 3D. It's also used by Blizzard Entertainment, the maker of Overwatch, StarCraft and World of WarCraft.)
  • Location Intelligence Software: Google Location
  • Analytics: Crittercism and Upsight. Let's take a closer look at Crittercism, which is now called Apteligent. Using Datanyze's Technology Tracking, we found that not only do games (Zombie Tsunami, MARVEL Future Fight, Magic Piano) use Apteligent, but ubiquitous apps like Netflix, Snapchat and Groupon also use the mobile analytics solution. 
  • Event-based Programming (under misc.): ReactiveX
  • SDK Libraries: Android, Android Support Library, Annotation Type Inject (Java EE 6), Apache Commons, Google Play Services and Square Open Source. The final SDK library mentioned, Square Open Source, is widely used, showing up in the mobile applications of Facebook, Twitter, Spotify, Pinterest and more. It's the fully-accessible source code developed by the San Francisco-based mobile payment platform of the same name. According to our data, it's used in more than 277,000 Android apps.

Granted, this list only shows the technologies used in the Android build of the game. And as mentioned above, problems with the app persist so this list will probably be augmented as updates are pushed out. The game’s maker, Niantic, is tight-lipped when it comes to Pokémon GO’s problems, with one popular tech blog calling the company a “, unknowable box that only speaks vaguely about future plans, if they talk about them at all.” But considering the unprecedented demand, it's no surprise the game is experiencing growing pains. At any rate - here’s to now being in the Pokémon know (sorry, couldn’t resist).

About the Author

Joe Vignolo

Joe is the Senior Digital Marketing Manager at Datanyze, specializing in authentic storytelling that connects and converts. Before joining Datanyze, he was an award-winning broadcast journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also believes Point Break is a shining example of American cinema.

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