This was a no-brainer move for Pokemon Go’s evolution into a money-making behemoth, aside from the in-game microtransactions. A lot of businesses have already made good use of Pokestops near or within their walls by attaching lures to them to get players into their area of interest. Niantic, developer of Pokemon Go, has said it will be opening up the platform to let brands sponsor locations. This essentially means that paying locations will give prominence to the players around them.
As with all freemium games we love, the fear of developers skewing the very essence of the game in favour of making money will always exist. For example, we could be seeing a future where a McDonald’s being a sponsored location will also become a hot spot for rare Pokemons during the hours the outlet want to drive traffic in. Of course, this is pure speculation for now but the hope is that Pokemon Go will stay true to its players.
Considering the Middle East hasn’t seen the official launch of the game yet, the sponsored locations update is far in our Pokemon future. Pokemon Go has slowly been expanding in Europe since last week when its inaugural European launch was German. Pokemon Go launched officially in the UK and Canada yesterday and is now also available in Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain.
Should we expect the company to let brands sponsor gyms next? Stay tuned to find out.