Can you recall the last time you saw a person reading a book on the move? Today you are more likely to see people gazing at their mobiles playing Pokémon Go, which encourages people to hunt and battle for Pokémon in an augmented reality. With a fan base of 5.3 million people in the UK alone, businesses are keen to explore the opportunities this craze may bring.
What can the game offer to the business community?
Small businesses have started advertising themselves as 'Poké Stops' and have been buying 'Lures' (which attract Pokémon) to draw customers to the vicinity, and bars have even been reported offering discounted drinks to players who own nearby 'Poké Gyms'.
Big business such as Niantic (who developed Pokémon Go) are cashing in on the trend by allowing retailers and restaurants to become sponsored Pokémon locations for a payment. There are also suggestions that businesses may be able to advertise themselves on the game itself via 'in-app advertising', which could be a cheap and effective way of marketing.
How is the game affecting real estate?
Remarkably, US real estate agents are finding ways to use the game to sell houses - properties are advertised as being located next to a Poké Gym or Poké Stop to attract gamers.
There are even reports that the game may encourage an increase in property value. Rob Levy, an Australian real estate agent, stated that "Pokemon Go would absolutely have an effect on a property's rental or sales price, especially among those under 35".
Although we are yet to see the UK real estate market catch on to the craze, UK retailers are taking advantage. Canary Wharf has reported greater footfall since it produced a map showing Poké Stops and Gyms in the area and began offering prizes to those who tweet screen-shots of Pokémon caught whilst in the locality. This illustrates how businesses are able to utilise the technology to enhance footfall and maximise spending. Camille Waxer (Managing Director at Canary Wharf Group) stated Pokémon Go is "an ingenious application" and that "the potential for developers and estate managers is enormous".
Most importantly, the game is normalising the concept of augmented reality. Before long we may see property viewings hosted via this method. Who would have thought Pokémon would be the forerunner of accessible augmented realities where spaces are imagined at the touch of a button?