Gamers digging through Pokemon GO‘s code on Android discover the existence of sponsored locations, with direct reference to fast food chain giant McDonald’s.
Seemingly overnight, Pokemon GO has blown up into a wildly popular mobile gaming phenomenon, with city squares swarmed with avid players looking for rare Pokemon and hitting up the local PokeStops for items. Considering its massive popularity, it’s clear that the parties involved with Pokemon GO are poised to make quite a bit of money, and it appears as though one of the ways Pokemon GO will bring in the cash is through “sponsored locations.”
Like Ingress before it, it looks like Pokemon GO will allow companies to pay for their businesses to be special meetup places for players. And apparently McDonald’s is going to be the first company to be a sponsored location in Pokemon GO, as there is already mention of the fast food chain in the game’s code.
Australian student Manu Gill, and Reddit users KcYoung and NeoProfessorWillow can be credited with this discovery. By digging through Pokemon GO‘s code, they discovered that the potential partnership between Niantic and McDonald’s will see all McDonald’s locations turned into gyms, which will encourage players to visit McDonald’s to not only take on gym leaders, but to grab a bite to eat as well.
As it stands, the majority of Pokemon GO gyms and PokeStop locations are limited to public buildings, like libraries, churches, and fire stations, with some exceptions, such as malls and Donald Trump’s Trump Tower. If McDonald’s notices a bump in profits thanks to its status as a sponsored location in Pokemon GO, then expect other major businesses to try to get in on the action as well.
However, sponsored locations could become a divisive topic, especially for parents of young Pokemon GO players. There are some parents that may not want their kids eating at McDonald’s at all, but those kids may be tempted to do so since they can conveniently eat some fast food while battling for control of the gym.
With the safety concerns surrounding the game and other controversies already plaguing Pokemon GO‘s reputation, being sponsored by McDonald’s may cause some additional headaches for Niantic’s PR team, but it’s doubtful that sponsored locations will cause anyone to stop playing the game. After all, robberies and dead bodies didn’t do anything to impede public interest in Pokemon GO, so McDonald’s being a sponsored location is unlikely to do any damage, and will probably be a successful endeavor for everyone involved. Plus, the Pokemon franchise has a long history of partnering with fast food chains; remember the golden Pokemon cards that came in Pokeballs at Burger King?
Pokemon GO is available now for iOS and Android mobile devices.