BARCELONA, Spain—Pokemon Go’s massive success has now driven more than a 500 million visits to stores partnering with the game, according to the CEO of Niantic, the company behind the game.
In a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Niantic CEO John Hanke said there are now 35,000 sponsored locations live within the app, as industries from coffee to telecoms continue to harness the popularity of the global sensation. For example, Jio, the Indian wireless telecoms provider, now has 2,000 locations across the country, with another 7,000 planned by the end of the year.
The phenomenon that’s been celebrated as the first viral use of augmented reality has certainly helped get people walking again. As of early December, users have walked more than 8.7 billion kilometers, catching 88 billion Pokemon. And while some have wondered whether the game will slow down, Niantic continued to add to it by launching a second version of the game earlier this month, which included another 80 digital monsters.
“Luckily, they’re not in danger,” Hanke said. “There are plenty more.”
The game, which Hanke said has now been downloaded more than 650 million times, is serving as a guide for the future of advertising, but also for a broader use of AR technologies and location services. Last year, it partnered with Apple for an integration with the latest Apple Watch, and Hanke said Niantic is also working on future projects such as augmented reality glasses.
“We think the products that we’re building can be the thing that creates the demand for AR and drives a whole new cycle of demand within the industry,” he said.