Sponsored Pokestops are beginning to pop up all over the world and it was just a matter of time. Niantic CEO John Hanke recently said in an interview that they were considering adding sponsored content to the game. Sponsored Pokestops are just the beginning.
Reddit users have begun to report multiple sponsored Pokestops in their area and most of the sponsored Pokestops have appeared in Japan. One user shared their observations:
“They’ve been showing as Sponsored in Japan for a while. McDonalds was first, and I know SoftBank was also added in. I noticed that in Ingress there was a portal at my local SoftBank, but it wasn’t a stop/gym in Go until quite a while later, I assume because they had to renegotiate the contract.”
The photo below, however, was taken at a Pokémon Center vending machine / kiosk in Northgate Mall, Seattle, WA. What’s a Pokemon Center vending machine? Apparently it’s a vending machine that offers Pokémon trading cards, plushies, pins, etc. It would make sense that a Pokemon themed vending machine would also be a sponsored Pokestop.
According to Pokemon Go Hub, we know very little about what these Pokestops will offer in the future:
“There is no word if any of these Pokestops are special in any way, besides being sponsored. Some players have speculated that sponsored Pokestops have an increased chance to drop rare items such as Ultra Balls and lure rare Pokemon. However, there is no hard evidence to support any of these claims.”
Some users are beginning to form their own theories on how this will affect the game in the future. One user pointed out that these sponsored Pokestops may offer rare and legendary Pokemon in order to gain business:
“Oh snap, conspiracy theory time!! This is how they plan on setting up Pokémon Go events. They are already establishing sponsored locations. You want a legendary?!? Swing by your local McDonalds this weekend for a 99 cent iced tea and a chance to nab your self an Arctuino!”
Sponsored content is a great addition to the game and it could make the game more interesting and more accessible. Also, if companies can sponsor their locations as Pokestops, can I sponsor my house as a Pokestop so I can catch Pokémon without ever leaving the house? Just a thought.