Market Insight

Pokemon Go – Another adoption driver for gyroscopes arrives

August 15, 2016  | Subscribers Only

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Niantic’s rapid success with Pokemon Go has put AR gaming firmly on the map for many consumers.  The application has an important AR component that requires a gyroscope for smooth panning while searching for Pokemon in AR mode.

As a result of the widely reported rapid download and revenue growth of Pokemon Go, InvenSense saw a significant jump (12.6%) of its stock price last week (August 12th).

Smartphone OEMs are reacting to this gaming trend by increasing the penetration of gyroscopes outside of high end of smartphones.  In fact, sensor makers are already reporting a positive impact on gyroscope shipment in Q3 2016.  Along with greater adoption, there are increasingly greater demands on performance.  As Pokemon Go in particular leads to extended periods of usage, OEMs are demanding better low power performance from gyroscopes.

Gyroscopes now have an increasing set of viable and desirable use cases to drive increased penetration in smartphones, including:
•    AR
•    OIS/EIS
•    Dead reckoning for navigation.

It is good news to have an increasing set of use cases that drive gyroscope adoption outside of the high end of smartphones.  A couple of years ago, with OIS too expensive to enter the mid-range and with no viable AR applications for most consumers, there was little to justify increased gyroscope penetration.  This relegated gyroscopes to high end smartphones, a category that is growing slowly.

Now with lowering prices, and better available usage drivers, gyroscopes again have a brighter prospect for increased adoption.  

A final word of caution is needed.  Nianitic (maker of Pokemon Go) had an earlier game called Ingress that also made use of AR and mapping elements to its gaming.  Ingress made little impact in comparason to Pokemon Go and highlights that success here is not based on AR, rather on the right game/application.  It is unclear if Pokemon Go can be more than a one off and for how long it will dominate App store downloads.  Whatever the case, in the short term there is a benefit with some uncertainty beyond this.

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