Pokémon Go Was NOT an Overnight Success — It Actually Took 20 Years to Make

The seemingly overnight success of Pokémon Go actually took one man 20 years of “leveling up” to achieve.

John Hanke, who is today the founder and CEO of Niantic Inc., began his journey to make Pokémon Go a reality when he created and sold his first online game in 1996 before starting a mapping company that would change the way people navigate with GPS forever. From there, with the help of Google and Nintendo, he would create one of the biggest mobile game phenomenons of 2016.

Roger James Hamilton, an entrepreneur and author, recently wrote a post detailing Hanke’s incredible story of the man behind Pokémon Go:

pokemon-go-google-john-hanke1 pokemon-go-google-john-hanke3
Hanke, who is responsible for increasing Nintendo’s share price by $12 billion with his “gotta catch ‘em all” game, began creating games while he was a student. Hanke later played a huge role in combining maps with aerial photography to create what we know today as “Google Earth,” “Google Maps” and “Google Street View.”


In 2014, Google and the Pokémon Company teamed up to play an April Fools’ Day joke that Hanke would later make a reality.

Images via YouTube

Support our Journalism with a Contribution

Many people might not know this, but despite our large and loyal following which we are immensely grateful for, NextShark is still a small bootstrapped startup that runs on no outside funding or loans.

Everything you see today is built on the backs of warriors who have sacrificed opportunities to help give Asians all over the world a bigger voice.

However, we still face many trials and tribulations in our industry, from figuring out the most sustainable business model for independent media companies to facing the current COVID-19 pandemic decimating advertising revenues across the board.

We hope you consider making a contribution so we can continue to provide you with quality content that informs, educates and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for everyone’s support. We love you all and can’t appreciate you guys enough.

NextShark is a leading source covering Asian American News and Asian News including business, culture, entertainment, politics, tech and lifestyle.

For advertising and inquiries: info@nextshark.com