Pokemon Go is sending its dedicated players to more than just new spots in their cities. It's taking them to graveyards, strip clubs, churches and even random people's homes.
The augmented reality game pinpoints locations in the real world on a map shown on the player's phone. The app marks different Pokemon that can be captured, "gyms" where players' pocket monsters can duke it out or "Pokestops," where users can score in-game items.
Many restaurants and bars are also seeing increased foot traffic because of the game, and according to the Wall Street Journal, the race to profit off the app's massive user base has already begun.
A Pokemon Go user plays the game in Ankara, Turkey on July 13, 2016. (Photo: ErÃ§in Top/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
A few establishments have already seen a boost in business, thanks to both sheer luck and some gaming of the app's mechanics.
Tom Lattanzio, owner of L’inizio Pizza Bar, told The New York Post the amount of people that have come to his store because of the game has been "astonishing."
“We had people come down, sit down and get a couple beers and play the Pokemon game,” the restaurant's manager Sean Benedetti told the paper.
Benedetti spent around $10 on an in-game item called a "lure," which brings more Pokemon to a specific location.
“People are coming out of the woodwork because of this game,” he told Bloomberg.
Niantic, the company that made the game, wants to offer businesses an even more powerful method of attracting pocket monsters — and in turn players — to their front door.
The company's CEO, John Hanke, told The Financial Times that establishments will soon be able to become "sponsored" spots in the game.
Businesses would "pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that is an inducement that drives foot traffic," he said.
Dedicated user base
Brandon Berger, Ogilvy Worldwide’s chief digital officer, told the Journal that brands wouldn't necessarily have to work with Niantic to benefit from the game.
"If you’re a beverage brand or a retailer or even a real gym, why don’t you find gyms [in the game] and put your brand right around that, put experiences around that?" he told the paper.
As Engadget reports, the game has 21 million daily active users, despite being officially released in just a few countries. In the U.S., it's become the top downloaded app on both iOS and Android systems.
Some players are so active that they are playing the game full-time. A 24-year-old in New Zealand quit his job to travel the country for two months and catch Pokemon, according to Newshub.