Pokemon GO is a game focused on getting out and doing things. In the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns, along with protests and riots that rocked the world, businesses were left in ruins. Niantic (the developer of Pokemon GO) is getting the Pokemon GO community involved in the recovery efforts. But how can Pokemon GO players help businesses recover?
For those who don’t know, Pokemon GO is an augmented reality smartphone game that allows players to catch in-game monsters (the Pokemon) by traveling to real-world locations. Two big mechanics of the game are PokeStops, which allow players to acquire items and quests, and Gyms, which players can conquer for their team and place their Pokemon to guard.
Naturally, these real-world locations attract many Pokemon GO players. Many of the locations are civic or cultural landmarks such as parks and churches, but Niantic has also allowed businesses to pay a fee to make their operations into “sponsored” PokeStops, thereby drawing Pokemon GO-playing customers.
But now Niantic is taking a different approach—one that will let Pokemon GO Players help businesses recover. “At Niantic, we are passionate about bringing communities together and lifting one another up, through the good times and the challenging times,” the company said on their blog. “We understand that many local businesses have experienced unprecedented hardship over the past few months, and we want to help.”
It’s one thing for a big company like Niantic to help businesses, but where to the players come in? The blog continued: “We are inviting Pokémon GO players to nominate their favorite small, local businesses to participate in the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative. As part of our efforts to assist the economic recovery of local businesses, we are committed to supporting 1,000 nominated businesses by providing them complimentary promotion in Pokémon GO for one year.
In other words, Niantic will turn the winning storefronts into PokeStops and Gyms in the Pokemon GO game. The businesses will even have access to exclusive in-game promotions. This will raise awareness of the small businesses, draw more traffic to the stores, and help them on the road to economic recovery.