Augmented reality game Pokémon Go will invite retail businesses to become sponsored locations within the game.
The free-to-play Android and iOS app has taken its launch countries by storm since being released on Wednesday 6 July and its creators, Nintendo and Niantic, are exploring ways to monetise the app.
Pokémon Go players can already buy virtual items to speed up their progress in the game, but Niantic’s boss John Hanke has told the New York Times there are future plans to allow retail businesses to become sponsored locations within the game.
Players try to capture the Pokémon monsters in real world locations using the game’s in-built augmented reality technology on their smartphones.
The location tracking software and the phones’ camera technology combine to encourage players to visit public landmarks to find collectible characters and virtual loot.
Start-up Niantic, which was spun out of Google and uses Google’s digital mapping technology, has already created a popular game called Ingress, which has been downloaded by 15m users and has over 1m active players a month.
Pokémon Go operates in a similar manner to Ingress and Niantic has cut sponsored location deals for Ingress.
The game has proved so popular that Nintendo and Niantic have had to hold back further international launches to avoid over burdening the servers that host the game.
Pokémon Go first launched in United States, Australia and New Zealand and has today launched in Germany.
Data from analytics firm SimilarWeb found 3% of all Americans opened the app last Friday, only slightly below the 3.5% that opened Twitter.
Small businesses are already capitalising on the popularity of the game. A bar in Harrisonburg, USA, is offering a 10% discount to Pokémon Go players of a specific team on the game.
Meanwhile, a tea shop in San Francisco is offering a ‘buy one tea, get one free’ deal.
The Pokémon Go is now being touted as the application that will finally help augmented reality technology to go beyond early adopters and turn mainstream.