Back when Niantic’s Pokémon Go first released in 2016, it was quickly observed that the game was helping out businesses situated near PokéStops and Gyms. Later on, sponsored Pokémon Go locations could be bought, which turns businesses taking part in the programme into PokéStops to help draw in a bigger crowd.
Now, that privilege will be given to 1,000 business in need of assistance, especially in this pandemic-stricken landscape, for absolutely free.
Earlier this summer, Niantic had announced their Local Business Recovery Initiative, asking for players to nominate local small businesses that they think are important to the community for the programme. A total of 38,000 businesses were submitted and out of that, 1,000 businesses across the United States, Canada, Mexico, the U.K., and Japan, have been selected to be part of the initiative.
“Niantic’s Local Business Recovery Initiative is designed to spotlight many local businesses beloved by players and which have been negatively impacted by the global pandemic,” said Carla Li, Niantic’s senior product manager for sponsorships (via Techraptor). “Becoming a sponsored location will drive awareness and aid in the recovery of both the businesses and the communities which they serve.”
These chosen businesses will receive the same perks as sponsored locations, minus having to pay any amount for said perks. This essentially means that the businesses will get to turn into either a PokéStop or Gym in Pokémon Go, and potentially get a boost in business with the crowd that will be dropping by.
According to Niantic, they will be adding more tools for sponsored businesses in the future, including the ability to create promotional campaigns and even take part in future in-game events.
The 1,000 businesses chosen for the Local Business Recovery Initiative will be given free access to the sponsored programme for a year.