The return of Pokemon – into your stadium?


Pokemon Go

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the United States opened its football stadium this Thursday (July 14, 2016) for Pokemon GO players who wanted to capture animated monsters at the venerated field.

After a long line that snaked for hundreds of feet, players of the game swarmed the stadium, seeking out new creatures. Half an hour into the opening of Memorial Stadium to Pokemon GO fans, over 1,600 people thronged into the stadium in their quest to catch ‘em all. By the time the gates closed in two hours, attendance topped over 3,700.

While a handful of Husker football and basketball players participated and interacted with the public on the field, Kenny Bell, a UNL graduate and wide receiver with the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, watched from a corner of north stadium.

Great addition to stadium events

“This is such a great opportunity to let people into the stadium to experience this game,” said Bell, who is working out on campus in the NFL’s off season. “I don’t play the game myself. But, this was a great decision by the university. It seems so much better than having people jumping the fence trying to get inside.”

The move to open the stadium is seen as a welcome sign considering the smartphone game has sparked a frenzy of players wandering around US cities hunting for “pocket monsters” to fight. There are reports that the game has prompted players to wander into their neighbors’ gardens in search of digital monsters, with warnings of trespassing.

It also provides stadiums around the world to add another event to their list, particularly in places where Pokemon GO is popular.

“Pokemon GO essentially breaks down the wall between technology and real-world experience, so as brands drive people into new locations, there’s a real opportunity for them to do more ambient marketing that isn’t exclusively digital”, said Jamie Gallo, president at Wunderman New York, in Adweek.

Launched in Germany

The smartphone game was officially rolled out in Germany on July 13. The makers of Pokemon GO, which is partly owned by Nintendo, announced on Twitter that the game was available in Europe’s biggest economy.

Until now, Niantic’s mobile phenomenon has only been available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand, but millions of users have already downloaded it either by getting the APK on Android or by switching to the US store on iOS.

Android and iOS users in Germany can now download Pokemon GO from the app stores the easy way, without having to turn to all kinds of tricks to get it.

Pokemon GO players hunt for the cartoon creatures at “pokestops” and “gyms,” which are set in real-world locations. The app uses the smartphone’s camera to overlay the action on the real-world environment.

After trying out the augmented reality-based, active real-world gaming concept for four days, BILD reporter Martin Eisenlauer concluded: “For four days I plan my life around Pokemon GO. I am constantly on the hunt for rare monsters, take detours to more theaters with Pokestops and spitzle on the phone screen passing by. For the best in the game is to meet other coaches. Man talks about his Pokemon, swap stories about where they found something and what experiences they had in the arenas. Alone for that I like to run as Smokemon (Smarphone+Pokemon) through the area.”

Cashing in on the craze

Pokemon GO has proven to be incredibly popular right out of the gate. Since it seems like you can’t throw a stone without hitting three or four Pokemon GO players, it’s safe to say the game has turned out to be quite popular.

New estimates from SuperData Research suggest Pokemon GO has already raked in earning more than $14 million in its first week alone. Now restaurants, retailers and other companies are looking for ways to cash in on the craze generated by the game.

Niantic chief executive John Hanke recently told Financial times that “sponsored locations” are set to come to the app soon.

The game currently makes money by charging users for virtual goods, such as power-ups, but Hanke said that “there is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored locations,” where companies “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that is an inducement that drives foot traffic.”

Advertisers would be charged on a “cost per visit” basis, like the “cost per click” system used by Google, out of which Niantic was spun a year ago. Pokemon GO has shot to the top of download charts since it debuted, with Nintendo working to boost server capacity to introduce the location-based smartphone game in markets beyond the US, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

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