If you’re reading this, you’ve for certain heard about Pokémon Go; the augmented-reality mobile game that uses GPS to transform real-world locations into places where you can collect in-game items to capture, that’s right, Pokémon(s). If you haven’t heard of this game yet, welcome back from hibernation. As of last week, Pokémon Go had become the most downloaded and top-grossing app on Android and iOS in the US, and had 21 million+ active daily users who were/are spending about 43 minutes each day playing. Here’s a boiled down look at the need-to-knows of Pokémonomics.
THE HYPE CYCLE
When a game first comes out, people are excited and they expect a lot. There’s press and merchandise, and saturation. Then, before you know it, there’s an inevitable deflation of expectations; things aren’t so shiny anymore and people move on. Let’s call this the ‘sad trombone’ stage, or as Gartner’s Hype Cycle defines it, the ‘trough of disillusionment’.
Right now Pokémon Go is in the ‘inflated expectations’ phase. People are still spending money, and people are still making money. Lots of it. The burning question is, how long until we fickle folk become bored and move on? As we’ve all learned at some point in our lives, easy come, easy go … just ask Nintendo.
THE SIDE HUSTLE
It seems there are new ways to ‘get it while it’s hot’ popping up all over the place. While Pokémon Go’s creator, Niantic, is reportedly earning over $1.6 million a day from players paying for virtual goods, they’re not the only ones cashing in on the game. Introduce, the side hustle. Everyday entrepreneurs are leveraging the game’s popularity to earn some extra money for themselves. Look around and you’ll find Pokétaxis, Pokébus and Pokéwalkers (think dog walker, but for your Pokéman game) grabbing the Pokémarket by the cahones. Hell, this fella even quit his job to travel for two months in pursuit of ‘winning’ Pokémon. When the world got wind, he gained traction on Instagram and he was able to put his passion to practical use, as a paid Pokémon trainer dishing out expert advice on tips, tricks and hacks.
Other side hustles we’ve read about include selling your high-level Pokemon account to the highest bidder in prominent e-markets like eBay and Craigslist; accounts at levels 19, 20 and 21 are listed on Ebay for as much as $600. There’s even people offering their underworld hacking services to trick your GPS into letting you catch Pokémon without moving (moving is usually a mandatory part of the gameplay). If you’re looking for more ideas on how you might be able to earn some extra real-world money via Pokémon Go, Forbes has a solid list of side hustle suggestions.
THE ROVING PROFIT
It’s not clear how much money the app is actually generating, though some analysts think it could make a $1 billion a year if it can keep up its current momentum. What we know is that the money is moving, literally.
“Smart, enterprising companies including pizza shops, coffee shops, bars, lounges, burger chains and stores like Gamestop in the U.S. will buy lures,” said Seth Fischer, founder of Hong Kong-based hedge fund Oasis.
What are lures you ask? The lure module lets retailers pay-to-play. Businesses pay a small fee to get on the Pokéman map for 30 minutes and drive foot traffic to their stores, restaurants, bars etc. Their locations become Pokéstops which helps them potentially generate sales and is definitely a marketing opportunity. Coming soon, sponsored locations; the idea is that advertisers would be charged for every customer visiting their store via the app.
As it stands, public spaces are being reshaped for commercial ends in new ways. For example, the week of July 14, 2016 there was a literal stampede in Central Park when players chased a very rare Vaporeon into it. The week before that over 2,000 people showed up on the steps of the Sydney Opera House! But, Pokéstops are also found in churches, university campuses, street corners and at historic monuments. These sites are transforming public spaces into exchange sites where moving people are supporting a very real economy via micro-transactions – the buying and selling of in-game virtual items. People are making money the Pokémon Go way.
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