By: Mike Montgomery
Pokémon GO has changed the game.
By that, I don’t just mean the world of video games. There’s no question that the mobile game, which at last count was being f you haven’t played, the game works with a GPS map that shows you where Pokémon are in the real world (you can tell a Pokémon is nearby via a virtual rustling of leaves). When they’re close enough, they appear as augmented reality on your phone and you try to catch them. The result is entertaining and adorable.
Although augmented reality has been around for years, this is by far the best use of the technology. Video game designers all over the world are probably scrambling to include augmented reality in whatever project they are currently working on.
But the impact of Pokémon GO is bigger than that. It’s even bigger than Nintendo’s 100% stock climb over the past few weeks. The game is also creating amazing opportunities for brick-and-mortar entrepreneurs.
Players don’t only try to catch Pokémon in the game. They also congregate at Pokéstops (where they can collect Pokéballs and other bonuses) and gyms (where they can battle other teams). Pokéstops and gyms are locations in the real world. Bookstores, churches, restaurants and murals that happen to be gyms or Pokéstops are suddenly being inundated by Pokémon GO players.
Businesses didn’t have a chance to sign up for this. The maps of key locations come from a previous game from Niantic (the studio behind Pokémon GO) called Ingress.
But they can take advantage of the business. For example, businesses can put out lures, which temporarily increase the number of Pokémon around that business. Inc calculated that lures only cost $1.19 per hour and they can drastically increase foot traffic. A friend who was playing Pokémon GO with her son noticed a lure at a local candy shop. Her son caught a bunch of Pokémon and she ended up buying him some candy.