Normally when you think of Nintendo, you think of video games that keep people cloistered in their homes. But Nintendo’s latest offering, made in partnership with Niantic, is the hugely popular Pokemon GO and it could be a boon to your small or medium-sized business if you know how to take advantage of it.
One of the things that sets Pokémon GO apart from other augmented reality games is that it’s geographically based. The game, making use of GPS, digital compass technology, and the camera of compatible devices, allows players to capture, battle and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon, who appear on device screens as though in the real world.
The game’s strategy involves two types of fixed locations: PokeStops and PokeGyms, both of which are set by the game. PokeStops are buildings or places around a city where players stop by for extra Poke Balls, potions, lures, eggs, potions, incubators, etc. PokeGyms are where players battle their Pokémon to gain control of the location for their team.
The initial PokeStops were pre-determined based on the previous Ingress game map. Both PokeStops and PokeGyms regularly attract players many times a day and businesses that have been declared as such have seen an influx of new patrons.
While your business probably won’t reap the same rewards as a PokeStop or one in very close proximity to a PokeStop, you can still build on the goodwill and community feel for the game.
Start by creating a Pokémon GO account by downloading it for free from the Google Play or App stores. Then start taking advantage of the mania with these ideas:
One item that can be placed at PokeStops is a “lure module.” Once they’re activated, lure modules attract wild Pokemon (and the players who seek them, of course) to that location. If your business was fortunate enough to be named a PokeStop, buy a package of lure modules and advertise a night as a "’Pokémon GO' Lure Party!"
It's a cheap and easy form of marketing. A single Lure Module costs 100 PokeCoins, the currency that the game uses. A pack of eight can be purchased for 680 PokeCoins. Because $.99 buys 100 PokeCoins, you can expect to pay $.99 for a single Lure Module and at least $7 for three Pokemon GO Lure Modules. (iDigitalTimes lists the prices for all Pokemon microtransactions in this article.)
If your business is not a PokeStop, you can still take part in the Pokemon GO community. Advertise your business as the meeting place for a neighborhood Poke-hunt on a certain date and at a certain time. Have players set out together to explore the neighborhood, looking for Pokemon. At the end of the night, invite everyone back to your business for food or cocktails.
As mentioned earlier, players battle their Pokémon in a bid to gain control of the location for their team at PokeGyms. You can advertise that you’re hosting a tournament at one of the PokeGyms, and give discounts on your product to the winning PokeGym leaders and their teammates. Not only does that get the name of your business out there, but you’re ushering in some patrons who want to use those discounts.
According to gamespot.com, Niantic is now letting people submit requests for new PokeStops or PokeGyms. You can visit this Pokemon GO support page to file a request. You can only request a business as a new location. Niantic has not said what criteria it will use to determine whether it will accept a request or how quickly it might turn around an appeal.
Toni Bowers has edited and written technology content for 25 years.