Pokemon Go's developer, Niantic, has confirmed it will feature sponsored locations, as brands and retailers try to cash in on the game's growing popularity.
The mobile game is free to play, but its booming popularity in its launch markets has raised questions of how Niantic plans to monetize the app.
CEO John Hanke told The New York Times that sponsored locations would feature in the game in the future, though he didn't say when.
The newspaper reported that the developer could charge retailers and restaurants to become sponsored Pokemon Go locations, which would incentivize people to visit them to capture a Pokemon character. Hanke said Niantic had cut similar deals for its predecessor to Pokemon Go, Ingress.
In the U.S., some agencies and a number of smaller retailers have capitalized on the fact that their locations are the source of Pokemon Go characters by putting up signs.
Pokemon Go is available in the U.S., New Zealand, and Australia. Data from SimilarWeb suggested the app is more popular in the U.S. than Tinder, and possibly more than Twitter in terms of daily active users.
British users are so desperate to get their hands on the game that fake versions of the app have topped Apple's App Store downloads in the U.K., Campaign reported yesterday.
The game uses a player's mobile GPS to show a virtual version of their real-world location on screen, but populated with Pokemon characters. Players are encouraged to move around in real life to capture different characters.
The game is being credited as the first mainstream use of augmented reality, and its popularity has resulted in several unintended side effects. In one instance, a player stumbled across a dead body.
This article first appeared on campaignlive.co.uk.