The Pokemon Go Craze Is Having No Material Impact On CDNs & Wireless Carriers

Last week, someone put out a note on Wall Street suggesting that the whole Pokemon Go craze would be positive for CDN provider Akamai. But in reality, Pokemon Go is built on Google App Engine’s platform as a service, which provides the game with a mobile backend. Google’s Cloud platform is powering Pokemon Go, not Akamai. Niantic Labs, which made the Pokemon Go game with backing from Google and Nintendo, stores and indexes Pokemon Go’s data from the game using Google Cloud Datastore’s NoSQL database. Pokemon Go also uses the game engine product Unity to help create the online game world and also uses Google Analytics.

The confusion for some probably stems from the fact that Akamai put out a press release in April, announcing Nintendo as a customer. I think it is possible that Akamai might see a small bump in traffic from other Nintendo related content thanks to Pokemon Go, but it’s not going to materially affect their revenue. It’s also interesting to note that Sandvine has put out some numbers on the usage and the traffic from Pokemon is quite small, averaging just 8MB used per hour.

Some have also suggested that the wireless carriers are seeing a ton of traffic because of Pokemon Go, but that’s not the case. Last week, Verizon Wireless said that Pokemon Go makes up less than 1% of its overall network data traffic. I checked with someone from T-Mobile, who didn’t want to be quoted, but said they also were seeing less than 1% of total traffic from Pokemon Go usage. No doubt about it, Pokemon Go is having a big impact on a lot of consumers right now, but it’s not having a material impact on CDNs or mobile operators.