Pokémon GO's phenomenal success has already bolstered Nintendo's share price and is sure to generate a considerable sum of cash for developer Niantic, The Pokémon Company and - via its 32 percent ownership of the latter - Nintendo itself, but it would appear that there are other revenue streams waiting to be tapped.
In an interview with The Financial Times (you'll need to be a subscriber to read it), Niantic CEO John Hanke revealed that Pokémon GO will follow the example of the company's other big AR hit, Ingress, which allowed businesses to sponsor portals within the game to attract players and therefore gain additional custom:
There is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations.
This is actually already happening in Pokémon GO - businesses with Pokéstops nearby are using IAP to buy lures which make those Pokéstops more attractive to players for a limited time, encouraging increased footfall. With a proper sponsorship mechanism in place, businesses would be charged for every customer who enters the store, which would be tracked by the app itself.
Niantic has promised that it will reveal more information "in the future" about any sponsorship deals, but you can guess at the kind of businesses which would benefit here. Coffee shops and restaurants are obvious choices as players can sit down and grab a drink or a bite to eat while they collect items, capture monsters and fight for dominance over gyms. Video game retailers are another option, given that Pokémon GO players will more than likely have an interest in other forms of interactive entertainment.
What kind of sponsorship deals do you think we'll see, and how do you feel about this expansion to the game? Let us know with a comment.