Pokémon Go has already brought in millions of users and tons of money to Nintendo. Now, just a week after its release, developer Niantic is preparing for its next big move. Financial Times reports that the company plans on letting advertisers create sponsored locations to drive both foot traffic and revenue. The aim is to cash in on the flood of Go players hunting for pokémon out in the real world, while advertisers promote their brands within the game.
Cashing in on the craze
Pokémon Go already includes in-app purchases, but, according to Niantic CEO John Hanke, sponsored locations serves as a model where advertisers "pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic." Those companies will then be charged on a "cost per visit" basis. It's an incredibly enticing premise; restaurants, bars, and stores are already paying money to plant lures for players, and the results have so far been incredible.
Just saw 40+ people outside of a restaurant that is usually empty. Asked if they were there because it was a Pokemon gym. I was right.— Jacob Pebley (@Jacob_Pebley) July 10, 2016
Niantic is well-positioned to unveil a sponsored location feature. Its last game, Ingress, allowed companies like Duane Reade to create portals to increase customer traffic. Given that Pokémon Go is far and away more popular, now topping both the App Store and Google Play Store, it's easy to imagine companies leaping at the opportunity to have their stores flooded with new customers.
You may want a Big Mac after your next gym battle
And Niantic's first sponsorship partner may be a big one. Gizmodo reports that users have found code that indicates McDonald's will launch sponsored locations at some point. In other words, you may feel compelled to buy a Big Mac after your next big gym battle.