Exciting rumors have reached the headlines yesterday in regards to the launch of Pokemon GO in Japan, as reports revealed that Niantic and Nintendo are preparing to release the mobile game in the said region today. This may not come to pass, however, as more recent rumors suggest that Niantic and Nintendo may have delayed the game's release until tomorrow (Thursday, July 21st). But regardless of when the game will eventually arrive in Japan, the news that McDonald's will become the first business to have sponsored content within the Pokemon GO game world, led to McDonald's Holdings Company Japan's share prices to increase by 9.84% at the market close on Wednesday.
Several leaks so far have "confirmed" that McDonald's will be the first business / brand to become relevant in the world of Pokemon GO. Reportedly, over 3,000 McDonald's restaurants in Japan will be translated in the Pokemon GO game world as Pokemon Gyms, which will turn the fast food chain's restaurants into points of interest for Pokemon GO trainers. Evidently, given the game's immense popularity and its players' determination to go out and search for Pokemon even in places or areas that they might otherwise avoid, having sponsored locations within the game world can potentially drive traffic to business locations in the real world, or in this case, McDonald's restaurants. In light of these events, it appears that investors have turned their attention towards McDonald's Holding Company Japan, whose share price increased by 9.84% at the time the market closed today.
Although McDonald's is currently the only brand expected to become an advertiser in Pokemon GO, it's more than likely that it won't be the only one, so long as Pokemon GO players will have a noteworthy positive impact on their business. As far as Niantic and Nintendo are concerned, they will reportedly capitalize on these sponsored locations following a similar revenue model as the one used for selling in-game locations in Niantic's first augmented reality game "Ingress", which followed a "cost per visit" format. Some of the sponsored locations in Ingress were owned by companies including Zipcar, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Vodafone, and AXA just to name a few.