After just one week of Pokemon Go’s release, more and more detailed maps are surfacing with important locations on Google maps. Mostly these show locations for Pokestops and Gyms.
Fans from Boston have been hard at work at completing the most comprehensive map to date, aptly called “Gotta Catch’em All”, and it is specifically dedicated to catching Pokemon, mapping out over 500 locations in detail. You can even filter by rarity and follow markers for rumored sightings and high-traffic lures. It certainly won’t be long until sponsored companies make good use of these maps in order to draw player to their business – oh wait.
Niantic Labs chief executive John Hanke has hinted in an interview with Financial Times that sponsored locations are coming to Pokemon Go, and that McDonald’s could be the first. This would put into action the second half of the studio’s monetization strategy – aside from micro-transactions.
The way this would work is similar to Ingress (Niantic’s other AR game): companies pay to promote their real-world locations in the game area, which invites players to floc to collect their in-game rewards or participate in local events. For each player that checks in (and hopefully purchases something at their destination) Niantic earns a little bit of cash.
Although specific plans for this model in Pokemon Go are not yet revealed, the game’s source code was discovered to have the groundworks already present.
According to Gamesradar, “Reddit user tf2manu posted a snippet of the game’s source code that mentions McDonald’s as a sponsor, and user KcYoung added that the McDonald’s logo even appears in the game’s resource files, right next to the usual clothing textures and icons.”
So, the next time you might use a map for practical use, such as catching strategies and routes to check on your way home, you might find interesting locations to hang out in the form of Sponsored Locations.
Now Available in the UK
After yesterday’s release in Germany, today’s UK release brings forward several concern regarding some of the existing real-world landmarks. Some people have raised concerns about whether this app is safe to play. Requests were urgently made by the chief executive of children’s charity NSPCC to adapt the game before its UK release, which would include a warning that adults could use it to prey on children.
One of their spokesmen said: “It’s deeply troubling that the app’s owners have ignored many warning signals and well documented child safety concerns. It would have been better if they had taken time to reflect on these and put their young users first.”
Niantic replied in a statement: “We take player safety seriously and want everybody to have a fantastic time exploring while safely playing Pokemon Go.” Possibly the sponsored locations would be a preferred place to visit for younger Pokemon Go players, as these will be publicly overseen by the sponsors themselves, employees present and camera supervision. As it stands now, locations need to individually take actions to be removed (at no charge), but dubious locations cannot be addressed as such yet. Perhaps NIantic and the Pokemon Company will respond with additional news related to this, as we can expect parental concerns to surge in the coming weeks (oh no, my child is outside instead of indoors, what do I do?).
Although the game is only live in a few countries so far it has already proved to bring people together in real locations. Currently this might be your local train station or church, and there are certainly weirder locations. It wouldn’t be such a stretch to consider that companies want to market not just their products but also their whole space to accommodate Pokemon Go players. It closely follows the principles of free-to-play gaming. Most players will be able to access these locations for free, and only those who wish to purchase something at the location (without anything becoming pay-to-win) can do so. Having all of these mapped out in a Google Map can only be convenient!
Which sponsors would you like to see most, either in your location, or as absolute craziest possible location possible?
Locations, Maps, McDonald's, Niantic Labs, Pokemon GO, Pokemon Map, Sponsored Locations, UK