I expect ongoing player counts to drop enormously before leveling off - but that's not an unreasonable thing given 50 million users there.
But one thing I've noticed, there's a lot of hate from people simply because this is popular. I'll call it the Nickelback Effect. People want to see it die, just because so many people love it and they don't understand that. So, people will present news like this in a "Hah! You thought it was awesome but it's dying!" light.
Ultimately, I think it's silly, played for all of an hour or two and deleted it. However, we did stick it on our tablets to give the kids more daily walk motivation, and it's working out well there... Also, the wife appears to have taken to it too, and is now taking extra evening walks "because it's so nice out"
But I'd say you're right: it needs more features added in a reasonable time frame. Trading, breeding, more social stuff. Things to keep people more involved long term. By all accounts Nintendo (and by extension Niantic) knows this and will likely deliver.
This may not be a huge cash cow for Nintendo in particular (lots of slices of the pie going all over the place) but the game is making money for a lot of people, so there should be a fair but of interest all around in keeping it ticking.
As has been the case with so many industries, the pendulum of VR will eventually swing back from dedicated apps towards web-based systems — and when that happens, Google will be ready. It published details of a new method for delivering serious surround sound over the web, a system it calls Omnitone. Plain ol’ multi-channel surround sound may be fine for watching a movie on a flat screen, but when you’re navigating a virtual environment with total spatial autonomy, you need a bit more. You need ambisonics, which simulates a full sphere of sound around you, giving sounds coordinates in 3D space and letting a renderer do the work of converting that coordinate into the appropriate soundwaves. The problem Google’s Chrome WebAudio team faced was how to make this happen in the browser using the tools already available — so as not to clutter the web with yet another standard. The solution they came up with is clever, but really quite straightforward.
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