Relax, your Pokémon Go mobile data is safe

Manny Pham
July 15, 2016

That’s right your Pokémon Go mobile data won’t rack up a massive bill, according to a study revealing the new AR game to be a conservative data consumer. 

Pokémon Go has taken the world by storm, with millions of downloads worldwide. The UK finally saw the official release yesterday and has already racked up 10 million downloads on the Play Store. The app first rolled out to Germany in Europe with the UK following. Today we’ve seen reports of Italy, Spain and Portugal finally seeing the augmented reality game appear on their respective App and Play Stores.

We’ve seen some strange stories come out of Pokémon Go, someone discovered a dead body and criminals used the game’s mechanics for nefarious reasons.

For those that have so far had a relatively normal experience, we got good news. According to a study from P3 Communications, Pokémon Go will not drink your mobile data.

Pokémon Go mobile data break down

According to the study someone on a 2GB data plan will have to play the game for seven hours a day, 30 day straight to drain all of their data. The average Pokémon Go sessions only lasts 100 seconds, consuming only 200kb. Playing Pokémon Go for an hour consumes 5MB to 10MB depending on use.

In comparison it is considerably less than streaming a HD video for an hour, which consumes 350MB of data.

Keep calm and Pokémon

P3 Communication’s study was carried out between July 6th to July 12th, analysing the data from the unofficial version of Pokémon Go. It was done from taking in the data of 200 players from the US and Germany. The players also downloaded P3 Communications’ U get app, which passively analyses mobile data. 

According to managing director of P3 Communications, Peter Seidenberg, there is nothing to fear in terms of data usage.

“Technically augmented reality games don’t require a lot of data, it’s the multimedia, the moving pictures [Pokémon] is what consumes the data. We’re talking about simple pictures that are close to nothing, the Pokémon are not even rendered in high resolution!”

On the surface Pokémon Go presents itself as a graphically intimidating game. It uses GPS, a constant connection and of course it has renders of all 150 original Pokémon stored in the data banks. We asked Peter whether Niantic had kept practicality in mind.

“Honestly I don’t think they thought about it. Games developer are more focused on quality rather than battery and mobile data. Nevertheless there’s no requirement for this kind of game to consume a lot of data, it’s all static graphics and compressed map data. The 150 Pokemon stored do not dent the memory banks.”

Niantic will include a “core element” of the Pokémon series in a future update, which will be trading, according to Niantic Labs CEO, John Hanke, speaking to Business Insider. A feature that could up the Pokémon Go mobile data usage, but for now we’re safe.

“Once you start interacting with other gamers, you have to exchange data. But it works in the same way as WhatsApp, as long as the content is coded in text it won’t consume a lot of data.” said Seidenberg.

For more news, visit What Mobile’s dedicated news page



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