The massively popular Pokémon Go has raked in over $4 billion since launching in 2016. Now, developer Niantic is looking to get a little more with the addition of floating ads.
After some limited regional testing, Niantic recently introduced “sponsored gifts” to the game worldwide, which directly advertise businesses like Baskin Robbins and Grubhub to players while they’re visiting PokéStops, gyms, and raid battles. In exchange for tapping the ads, players will get a few in-game items.
Sponsored gifts will appear in Pokémon Go as hot air balloons, much like the Team Rocket balloons that initiate special encounters with the villainous organization. Children’s accounts will not see sponsored gifts, and folks can opt out of the program at any time.
While this isn’t the first time Pokémon Go has partnered with real-world companies, those ads were previously confined to sponsored PokéStops and gyms. Players wouldn’t see the ads unless they physically traveled to those locations.
As unobtrusive as these sponsored gifts may be, it feels a little more sleazy than what the game has implemented before, but hey, I guess that’s capitalism.