Pokemon Go! launches in UK: How can brands catch the craze?

14/07/2016

Pokemon Go, the hugely popular augmented reality game has finally launched in the UK. But how can brands capitalise on the latest mobile craze?

Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game played on Android and iOS smartphones, which takes the original principles of Pokémon and applies them onto the real world.

Using GPS, the human trainers are the ‘real world’ users of the app. Players can pick up new Pokémon at real world locations that the app sends them. Once they reach the location, they wave your phone camera over the area until the animated Pokémon appears. Players can catch the Pokémon by throwing an animated Pokéball.

The mobile version of the popular gaming franchise Pokemon was so popular that Niantic Labs was been forced to pause the global roll out due to high demand crashing the servers.

According to Forbes, Pokemon Go is already about to surpass Twitter in the number of people actively using it daily on Android devices.

Shares in Nintendo have seen a sharp rise since the release of Pokemon Go, gaining more than 50%.

Along with the existing in-app purchases from "PokéCoins," developer Niantic says it will use sponsored locations as another way to cash in.
The Pokemon franchise is jointly owned by Nintendo, Game Freak and Creatures and since its inception in 1998 has led to TV shows and films, as well as many spin-off toy and merchandise products.

Sponsored 'Pokestops' coming soon?

While ‘trainers’ are trying to catch 'em all with Pokémon Go, the developers are figuring out how to make money from the augmented reality (AR) game.

Niantic CEO John Hanke told The New York Times that the developer has already signed deals with some retail establishments to turn their businesses into sponsored Pokemon Go locations. The developer will announce sponsored locations "in the future."

The New York Times mentions fast food restaurants and coffee shops as two examples of possible sponsored PokeStops. Given the huge popularity of Pokemon Go, it's not hard to imagine retail establishments lining up for sign sponsorship deals to attract more customers.

Sponsorships make a lot of sense for Pokémon Go, because retailers are already paying to set Pokéstop "lures" to draw players.

Also, Niantic is familiar with the concept thanks to its other AR game, Ingress.

With that app, sponsors like Duane Reade pharmacies in the US and Vodafone in Germany pay to turn their locations into "portals," drawing extra foot traffic.

With Pokémon Go, advertisers would be charged for every customer visiting a store, as confirmed by the app.

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