Nintendo value surges £6bn on new Pokémon app

The Pokémon GO effect has sent Nintendo’s shares surging for the second day running, driving the Japanese company’s value up by more than a third since the game’s launch last week, reports The Guardian.

Nintendo’s shares jumped 24.5% to ¥20,260 (£153.50) in Tokyo – their biggest gain since 1983. The increase follows a 10% rise on Friday. The shares have risen by 36% in two days, adding almost £6bn to Nintendo’s market value.

Pokémon GO is the first edition of the 21-year-old game for mobile phones and lets people catch the eponymous monsters in the real world using their smartphone cameras. The game is free but it makes money by tempting people to buy extra PokéBalls and other in-app features – and the signs are that it is highly compulsive.

So far, Pokémon GO is only officially available in the US, Australia and New Zealand but Android users in other countries have taken to “sideloading” the game, letting them get around Pokémon’s staged rollout. It immediately became the top free app in the US and was so popular on launch day that the servers briefly failed.

It has not taken long for criminals to find uses for the game. Armed robbers used it to lure victims to an isolated trap in Missouri on Sunday. People in the US have also been injured chasing monsters into hazardous spots and on Friday a teenager found a dead body while playing the game.

Nintendo is only indirectly involved with the game but it owns 33% of the Pokémon company, which owns the Pokémon franchise and develops the main series of games, and it has taken a stake in Niantic, the former Google subsidiary which developed Pokémon GO.

Nintendo has sought to protect its console business and has resisted introducing mobile games featuring its best-known characters such as Pokémon and Super Mario Bros. It has promised four more smartphone games by the end of March.

Nintendo shares registered the biggest jump since 1983, when it launched the 8-bit home video game console called the Nintendo Entertainment System, aka the NES.