Everywhere you go in New York you will see people playing Pokémon Go. Walking down the street, each person you pass who is fixedly looking at their phone is likely completely immersed in the most popular game in the world right now: Pokémon Go.
Despite server outages due to high demand and multiple bugs, the game has already revolutionized the game industry.
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality mobile phone game that encourages you to go outside and explore your neighborhood in the hunt for elusive Pokémon. The game employs your real world location and your phone’s cameras and sensors to show the Pokémon in the world around you.
The game is free to download but in-app purchases are available. Players can spend real money stocking up on Pokecoins, which is the in-game currency of Pokémon Go, which can then be exchanged for power-ups, lures, and other items.
Research done by Slice Intelligent found that Pokémon Go purchases surpassed all other purchases on the market on July 10th and accounted for nearly 47 percent of revenue generated for the entirety of mobile gaming the same day. Think Gaming estimates that Pokémon Go’s iOS revenue in the US alone is 1.85 million.
The parent company, which is a spin-off of Google parent company Alphabet, which owns 6% of Niantic, is already valued now over 3 billion according to Quartz. It is estimated to make more than a million dollars a day in revenue.
Niantic, the parent company of Pokémon Go, previously launched a mobile app similar to Pokémon Go, Ingress. Like Pokémon Go, Ingress also utilized your real world location. Niantic monetized Ingress by partnering up with local restaurants to send players to in the game. Pokémon Go will also most likely be monetized in much the same way.
Many retailers have already begun giving out discounts to Pokémon Go players. Even Yelp launched a “Pokémon Nearby” filter on their app for users looking for good bye to eat, with a side of Pokémon. Ingress’ sponsored locations included Duane Reade pharmacies, Jamba Juice as as locations for the Zipcar rental service.
Digital marketers have traditionally relied on SEO on Google and ads on Facebook.
But with the introduction of sponsored locations, this signals a radical shift in digital advertising. No longer is digital marketing simply digital, but also extends—and to an extent, requires—the physical.
Whereas SEO and Facebook ads simply lead a possible customer to a site, the “sponsored location” model actually leads a potential customer to the physical store, where goods aren’t mere pixels on a screen, but rather material objects that they can touch and feel—and perhaps then, more likely to buy.
The augmented reality aspect of the game also begins to extend itself into the physical realm. There is talk of creating a physical watch-like device that sends notifications via a Bluetooth connection and can even catch Pokémon for you while you’re on the go. The idea is that you won’t have to constantly check your phone for updates.
As always with popular games, there is also an underground market of sales. Outside of official monetization, there are other players who are taking advantage of the Pokémon frenzy. People are posting job listings on Craigslist offering to catch Pokémon while people are at their jobs, and even walk their dogs in the process. People are selling accounts with high levels. Niantic has discouraged such offerings and warned that it would close accounts, but considering the popularity of the game, this kind of activity is unlikely end soon.
Third-party applications offering Pokémon maps among other goods have also become extremely popular. Usually these apps trail Pokémon Go in the app store. Pokémon Go might be number one, but Pokémon Maps will be number 2.
Having trouble catching Pokémon? Check out this article about how to catch them all.