If you have not yet played Pokemon GO, you’ve surely heard about the game that’s sweeping across the world. Catch Pokemon, train them, look for PokeStops and Poke Gyms to advance further in the game.

While many fans are still waiting for the game to be released in their countries so they can begin exploring and “catching them all”, let’s take a look as this incredibly popular phenomenon from a commercial angle.

There are two questions to take into consideration:

  1. How can Pokemon GO monetize your business?
  2. How much does it cost to develop a game like Pokemon GO?

How Pokemon GO can monetize your business

There are many shops and cafes that are lucky enough to appear on the game’s map as PokeStops or places where Pokemon live. Creative businesses have designed unique posters and signs or offered discounts on their products to attract Pokemon GO players through their doors.

Resourceful business owners have begun taking advantage of this luck by offering special deals on their menu to Pokemon trainers and suggesting you charge your phone while you eat as the game significantly drains it. Or maybe you want to try on a new outfit while your friends catch a Charizard. Businesses that aren’t lucky enough to be on the map can buy one through making use of the Pokemon GO sponsorship option. Another way to attract more visitors is by buying lures through in-game purchases. For $99, Pokemon lures that last 72.5 hours can be bought.

However, Pokemon GO has no API and no internal analytics, making it difficult to know exactly where is best to place lures to attract would-be clients. As prices can vary, it is wise to use other external tracking tools to find what makes the most sense when spending your money.

The game is just a month old, but according to Bloomberg L.P. research, sales of shops, cafes, and bars have already increased by 30%.

What is great about this game and brand is that it can be incorporated into almost any business. For instance, fashion designers can use Pokemon designs in their collections, McDonald’s puts Poke-toys in their Happy Meals, restaurants increase sales by offering discounts, and mobile phones and accessories can customise cases and devices to help players in the game through increasing convenience and efficiency. There are even portable Pokemon GO Plus devices that have been made to vibrate when important events occur in the game to alert players. Pokemon can also be used on food and drink packaging, enticing children and making it difficult for parents to refuse that snack shaped like Pikachu.

Entertainment venue owners could also organize Pokemon-themed parties and events for children and adults alike. Gyms, beauty salons, and other businesses could host Pokemon GO competitions, offering discounts or gift cards to winners.

For online businesses, popular hashtags like #pokemongo, #pokemon, #gotcha, or #catchthemall can be used to attract more visitors to their pages. Evidently, the options are endless and almost any business can come up with creative ways to capitalize on the Pokemon GO craze.

“Thanks to games like Pokemon Go, ads with geolocation should get a boost to development in games with augmented reality. It will become a stimulus for new developments in geotagging, which directly affect the attendance of venues.” says analyst Jitendra Waral, in conversation with Bloomberg Intelligence.

How to make a game like Pokemon GO

Pokemon GO makes use of augmented reality (AR). Augmented reality takes what we see and do in the real world and adds something to it with the help of computer images and sound. By not replacing reality completely like many video games do, augmented reality actually complements reality by adding an extra layer to it, like in the case of finding a Pokemon across the street from your house or office.

The game keeps track of a player’s location in real-time to determine where Pokemon should appear. Like other AR games, Pokemon GO uses a camera to display Pokemon around you, as well as using GPS, and an accelerometer and compass to know in which direction you are moving.

The game is free, but users are spending about $1.6 million daily on various in-game purchases and related accessories, according to analyst firm Sensor Tower. Not bad, right?

The minimum cost of Pokemon GO, including game design, development, art and animation, audio, quality assurance, and, of course, licensing purchases is approximately $1,000,000. It’s clear that this is an expensive and time consuming project. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to create something great for a lower price.

For a simplified analog version of Pokemon GO that includes game development, design, and testing, you would still need about $50,000 and approximately 1,300 hours of development time that could be broken down as follows:

You can always hire an external development team to do this (find out how to choose the right team for you in this article). You can also incorporate additional features into your game afterwards, initially only developing an MVP version to test the market and check whether your game will be in demand or not, allowing you to steer the project in the right direction after launch.

AR is getting popular, capturing more and more active users every day. This is also evident in the success of companies which are using AR, encouraging more companies to take advantage of this technology. Experts cannot deny that the phenomenon of an AR game like Pokemon GO will have a lasting impact on the gaming industry and the tech industry as a whole.

It is relatively easy to take advantage of the success of Pokemon GO as a business. By applying some innovations to your business model and getting creative, you could increase your success and boost your business! You can also choose to pursue your own version of an AR game or app, developing your own idea using this modern technology.

If you are looking for a team of developers for your mobile app or if you have more questions about augmented reality and how it could help your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

Useful links

  1. Beginner's guide: How to play Pokémon Go!
  2. How to build a Pokemon Go App?
  3. What is MVP and why is it necessary?