Tie Ups like McDonald’s Japan Sought by Pokemon Go Creator

Sponsorships by companies that want to attract character-hunting players to their businesses is being explored in greater detail by the creator of mobile gaming phenomenon Pokemon Go.

This was said by the chief executive of developer Niantic Labs recently.

Deals that are similar to that which turned nearly 3,000 McDonald’s restaurants in Japan into stops for collecting virtual supplies or “gyms” for on-screen battles is being sought to be established by the gaming company Niantic and it is talking with several companies interested in such partnerships, said the Chief Executive of Niantic, John Hanke.

Hanke said at the GamesBeat 2016 conference that the company’s reliance on in-app purchases by players to generate revenue can be reduced through paid sponsorships.

“It’s tough to understand where you want to draw the line,” Hanke said. The company felt “we wouldn’t have to cave to that pressure to just dial it up a little more” by adding sponsorships, Hanke added.

Players of Pokemon Go ventured into city streets, offices, parks and restaurants to search for colorful animated characters after the game almost exploded since its introduction in the United States on July 6.

In order to make animated characters appear in the real world, augmented reality and Google mapping is used by the smartphone game. Landscapes that players see through a mobile phone camera have creatures overlaid on them which is also seen by the players.

According to analytics company App Annie the game earns more than $10 million in daily revenue and it has been downloaded more than 100 million times.

The Pokemon Company which has seen its stock price surge after the runaway success of Pokemon Go and which receives licensing fees from the game, has a large part of it owned by the Japanese company Nintendo Co.

However the game has had its share of controversies. There were many instances in various countries including the U.S. where players have stumbled and injured themselves as they walked around with their eyes glued to their smart phone screens and have been robbed when they had ventured into dark lonely alleys in search of Pokemon characters. Such incidents have prompted safety warnings related to the game.

Now, devices that will help people to be more alert about their surroundings while playing the game is being sought by the company, Hanke said. A device that would alert players when Pokemon creatures are nearby and which can be worn on the wrist, is being developed by Nintendo. The device has been planned to be launched in September after initially slated to be released in July.

Hanke said that such devices that would be wearables and would work on augmented reality “will give people a way to play the game and not look at their phone all the time and look around them at the interesting places we are trying to help them discover.”

“I’m very excited about investing in that area, about building prototypes and bringing our gaming products to that hardware as it comes to market,” he said.

(Adapted from CNBC)


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