15 July

Niantic to make Pokemon Go an advertiser's paradise

The team behind Pokémon Go, the augmented reality (AR) game that has broken all app records, has revealed it plans to open up the game to advertisers allowing for ‘sponsored locations’ within the game.

The world has gone Pokémon Go mad. Even though the app is yet to officially hit app stores in many countries, it has already broken nearly every record imaginable.

Since its launch, we’ve even seen articles from financial minds telling us what Pokémon Go can teach the banking industry.

Learning from Ingress

On the subject of money and the free-to-play game, its creator, Niantic, has confirmed it is looking into opening up the game to advertisers by allowing companies to create ‘sponsored locations’ within the game for players to visit.

Currently, the game generates areas on a player’s map called ‘pokéstops’ and ‘gyms’ that let your Pokémon characters regain their health or buy items.

If sponsored locations comes into the game, however, these stops could include a pokéstop that lets you buy your Pokémon Abercrombie & Fitch clothes, for example.

Niantic’s chief executive, John Hanke, confirmed the decision in a recent interview with the Financial Times, having said this opening up of locations to advertisers will provide the game with a significant revenue stream.

This isn’t a new undertaking by the company as, with its previous Ingress AR game, which seems to have been forgotten amid the nostalgic love for the Japanese cartoon, it also agreed deals with advertisers where ‘portal’ locations on streets featured famous brands.

It is a huge opportunity’

Early evidence indicates that brands will be rushing to sign up to sponsored locations in Pokémon Go given that, in the past week, small businesses have spoken of their shock at the chance rise in business created by the game.

In one New York restaurant, the owner paid $10 to turn it into a gathering point, which saw a surge in business by 75pc compared with his usual business.

Analysts also seem to agree that it could make Niantic and Nintendo a lot of money, with Atul Goyal of Jeffries saying to the Financial Times: “There are several ways that we see the potential for significant monetisation of Pokémon Go by Nintendo, and one of them is certainly the potential for paid advertising or paid deals that encourage players to come to a particular building or store. It is a huge opportunity.”

Meanwhile, not all reaction to the game has been positive, with institutions like the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC having to come out and say it’s “extremely inappropriate” for people to play Pokémon Go there.

It has even driven one Irish graduate to go ahead and create something called ‘Pokémon No’ that blocks all mention of the game from your Chrome browser.


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