Pokémon Go launching in Japan with first sponsored locations

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Pokomon Go app

The Nintendo-owned Pokémon, which exploded in popularity in the late 1990s, is again taking the world by storm. The game is currently available in over 30 countries, including the U.S., Canada and much of Europe but TechCrunch reports that tomorrow it is scheduled to launch in Japan.

Over the last few week the app became so popular that it’s now competing with Twitter in terms of daily active users. We didn’t have to wait long until this potential would be used for location-based marketing. The Japanese launch will also bring the first sponsored locations to the game. Niantic Labs – the company which developed the game for Nintendo, has reportedly partnered with McDonald’s to turn 3,000 restaurants across Japan into gyms for trainers to battle over. 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.” I’m pretty sure that we will soon see much more sponsored venues within the app.

If somehow you haven’t heard about it, Pokémon Go is a free smartphone virtual-reality, location-based game that uses your phone’s GPS and clock to detect where and when you are in the game and make Pokémon appear around you (as augmented reality) so you can go and physically catch them. As you move around, different and more types of Pokémon will appear depending on where you are and what time it is. The idea is to encourage you to travel around the real world to catch Pokémon in the game. Simple but awesome.

Pokémon Go fever is spreading around the globe. Have you already tried it?

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Aleks Buczkowski
I'm a professional always thinking outside the box and a self-confessed gadget addict. As a son of a professor of cartography I was surrounded by maps all my life and as a result spatial way of thinking and seeing reality is naturally embedded in who I am.