Japan McDonalds “goes” ahead with Pokémon tie-in

Japan’s McDonalds restaurants are becoming PokéStops and Gyms for Pokémon Go players. This new collaboration marks the game’s first official sponsorship.

The deal allows players to collect items and battle against peers at McDonalds’ 2 900 restaurants across the country.

The announcement triggered a spike in shares in the Japanese unit of McDonalds, despite the fact that the game had not even been released in Japan when this announcement was made.

According to the Wall Street Journal, this forms part of a wider “speculative frenzy”  over companies that will possibly profit through the location-based game that has recently taken the world by storm.

The game, which takes players on an augmented reality Pokémon hunt using their smartphones, has been downloaded tens of millions of times in its three weeks of existence. It is officially the most popular smartphone game in the US and in many other countries around the world. 

Aside from “freemium” in-app purchases, the Pokémon Go revenue model has been set to include sponsorship and partnership deals with major companies and chains from the start. This partnership with McDonalds in Japan marks the first such deal.

Pokémon Go finally launched in Japan on Friday and a number of enthusiasts took the day off to play.