Nintendo’s Pokemon Go mobile game continues to be a craze, with the latest estimate suggesting it had 21 million daily active users in the US on Monday.
Meanwhile, new commercial models are emerging for the game alongside its existing in-app purchases. “There is a second component to our business model at Niantic, which is this concept of sponsored location,” said CEO John Hanke – Niantic being the developer of Pokemon Go. The idea is that companies would “pay us to be locations within the virtual game board — the premise being that it is an inducement that drives foot traffic”. Is there an angle here for music? Perhaps for record stores (or, at least, those with a marketing budget) and venues. Some music folk are already thinking about how Pokemon Go-style augmented-reality gaming could work for music: “There is music – well, audio – associated with a location. When you enter the location the music starts. When you leave it stops,” wrote Lucas Gonze in a thoughtful blog post. That said, Pokemon Go’s success is about Pokemon more than AR: it’s hard to think of music brands that would generate a similar buzz, rather than (for example) story-based brands like Harry Potter or Star Wars.