pokemonThis morning, I arrived at work to start another normal, yet always exciting day of Internet Property Management at Netsville when I came upon a chaotic display in front of our office. Five cars parked in front of our door (one completely blocking the sidewalk) and a small group of people on their phone wildly dodging about. Normally, this kind of scene would suggest a minor catastrophe of some sort but that was far from the case. Rather, someone had set a Lure at the PokéStop near our office to bait wild Pokémon that they could catch. If that sentence sounds like gibberish, you may not be familiar with the instant craze of Nintendo’s Pokémon Go that has unfolded globally and the probable benefits that it could bring to your business.
With a drive on nostalgia and the innovation of augmented reality (AR), Pokémon Go is a free app where players can capture Pokémon (or pocket monsters) and train them to fight in battles at Pokémon Gyms. These Pokémon appear at random all over the map encouraging players leave the comfort of their couches and out into the real world (with many already complaining about sore legs from too much walking). Pre-selected PokéStops are available virtually throughout towns at unique public landmarks, parks, and churches where players can go and re-up on Poké Balls and other items that can assist in their hunts. In the same way, Gyms are also accessible virtually where players can use their now captured Pokémon to battle other players for dominion of that Gym.
Geo-location games are nothing new with some, like geocaching, dating all the way back to the civilian release of GPS in May 2000 but Pokémon Go is by far the first to become an instant global phenomenon, resulting in Nintendo’s shares skyrocketing by 53%. Businesses that are fortunate enough to be near a PokéStop or a Gym have already begun to seize the opportunity by taking advantage of the extra traffic in their area by offering giveaways to players, hosting Pokémon themed happy hours, and even supplying smartphone charging stations for the battery-draining app.
Furthermore, by applying the aforementioned in-game Lure at a PokéStop, for 30-minute increments Pokémon of all shapes and sizes become prevalent at that particular location instantly increasing traffic. A local restaurant hub in my area, for example, had several consecutive Lures set-up last night attracting scores of people purchasing drink specials and catching Pokémon from the comfort of the restaurant’s outdoor seating. Bloomberg reports examples of restaurants and bars having their revenues increase significantly using this method. In one particular instance at a Queens pizzeria, “food and drink sales spiked by about 30 percent compared with a typical weekend” after only having spent $10 for Lures.

With the app’s fast growing popularity (which within a week of release has already surpassed Tinder and is closing in on Twitter), it is not surprising that Go developer Niantic Labs is already beginning to partner with businesses to create sponsored locations for gameplay according to the New York Times. With more details and updates to come, Pokémon Go has introduced a new and fun way to help promote businesses while creating a plethora of marketing opportunities. Rather than a temporary fad, the radical growth of Go shows no signs of dissipating and imitators are already fast in development. Whether or not they are able to cash in on the same success is another story but the end result is clear: augmented reality games are a new wave of the future and the time to jump aboard that train is sooner rather than later.

Based in Rochester, New York, Netsville is an Internet Property Management company specializing in managing the Digital Marketing, Technical, and Business Solutions for our customers since 1994. For more information, please click here.