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Four ways Pokemon Go can impact the business world

Posted July 19

Pokemon Go has caught on insanely well with consumers, as thousands of people roam their communities glued to their phones more than usual looking for Pokemon characters. A flipside to this craze is that it's also caught on with businesses, outside of its maker Nintendo, as a potential tool to draw in customers.

Here are four ways Pokemon Go has made ripples across the business landscape:

1. Pokemon as a marketing tool

Entrepreneur Justin Cener in his blog noted how Pokemon Go is not just the next form of native marketing, but a new marketing channel. He wrote of how an outing to catch some Pokemon turned into a stop at a bar.

“This is the scene,” he wrote. “30+ people playing Pokemon Go, with the majority of them seated at the restaurant. Anything else you can think of that happens when you sit at a restaurant?”

Now, to explain: Pokestops are in-game locations tied to real world landmarks, such as churches, businesses, statues, etc. Their purpose is to give users items to catch Pokemon and take care of them.

And Lures are purchasable in-game content that can be used at a Pokestop to attract Pokemon for about 30 minutes. This means that if users go to a spot where a Lure has been used, they don’t have to walk around looking for Pokemon like normal, but instead wait for them to come to them.

So if Pokestops can be tied to real-world locations of businesses, and Lures can make Pokemon catching at a Pokestop a lot easier than businesses could use Lures to draw in Pokemon for users.

And Cener’s story is not the only one, as a Reddit user shows.

SmartCompany noted how businesses are already advertising that they have Pokemon inside, such as this photo of the clothing store iconoCLAD.

2. Pokemon Go’s popularity challenges other platforms

If the number of Pokemon games released (more than 50) and their popularity wasn’t already enough of a clue that the franchise is a runaway hit for Nintendo, then the app’s popularity should have dispelled any lingering doubts.

The app’s use has already overtaken Tinder’s app use, installed on 5.16 percent of all Android phones compared to just more than 2 percent for Tinder, according to Business Insider.

And it is set to conquer Twitter’s number of daily active users — on Friday, just a little bit more than 3 percent of all Android owners in the U.S. were on it, compared to about 3.5 percent on Twitter, Business Insider continued.

“More recent data is not available, but 'Pokémon Go' may have already overtaken Twitter,” writes Rob Price for Business Insider.

3. The future of augmented reality

“I think Pokémon Go is going to prove out to be the first, widely adopted implementation of augmented reality,” writes Mark Wilson for Fastco Design, noting that numerous other apps have tried and failed to make AR a widely recognized platform.

“We’re not fast-approaching our augmented future,” Wilson continued. “It's already caught us.”

Augmented reality operates on a similar principal to the idea of virtual reality —whereas virtual immerses a user in an imagined world via a headset that also works to isolate you from the real world, augmented reality inserts virtual objects into the real world to interact with, writes ZDNet in an article on the subject.

And Pokemon Go, with its ability to allow users to catch Pokemon in their house, out on a neighborhood walk or at the grocery store is an example of augmented reality.

Before Pokemon Go, the case for AR was questionable, as “the average employee wasn't going to be on board with AR out of the gate,” ZDNet stated in another article.

However, it's now set to become a “household acronym as the buzz-o-meter goes crazy” with Pokemon Go’s release, according to ZDNet. People now have a successful example to hold up whenever a pitch with AR technology is made, and users will have experience with Pokemon Go under their belt as they adopt it, it continued.

“As AR becomes the technology of Pikachu, those business-use cases will accelerate,” writes Larry Dignan for ZDNet.

4. Business on the home front

Nintendo’s stock price soared by 25 percent on Monday after jumping up late last week with the app’s launch, adding $7 billion to its market value, Forbes noted.

And the app's success has come as Nintendo has been looking for something to make up for the disappointing sales of its latest home console, the Wii U, Forbes added.

But it’s not yet enough. Equity analyst Mia Nagasaka said that the game needs to generate at least $140 million to $196 million per month to make a meaningful contribution to Nintendo’s profits, according to CNBC.com.

So far, the app is free with the revenue coming from in-game purchases needed to better capture and store Pokemon and earn experience points, which can be profitable.

"As users build their Pokémon inventory, spending money becomes needed to store, train, hatch and battle," analysts David Gibson and Aya Haruyama of Macquarie Capital Securities in Japan told CNBC.com.

Contact the reporter at smanderson@deseretnews.com; or follow her on Twitter at @Sarahsonofander.

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