According to leaks of screenshots containing Starbucks icons in Pokemon Go and websites only accessible to Starbuck employees, the game’s first sponsored event in the west, is starting this Thursday, December 8.
According to the leak, a Pokémon Go Frappuccino Blended Beverage might be involved, as both an in-game item and for sale in stores, a drink with a focus on a Pokemon favorite — berries, with its raspberry and blackberry flavor. But players will have to show they are playing the game to purchase the beverage, so Niantic can track the progress of the collaboration. Beyond that, the photos suggest a bigger update, even adding new Pokemon. Data-miners have found code for 100 from the second generation of monsters.
This event is likely, as Niantic stated this summer that they planned on working with corporate sponsors as it did with Ingress. Their collaboration with McDonald’s (in Japan) worked well, and many Starbucks will become pokestops. Such sponsorship helps reduce the companies reliance on in-game purchases.
Niantic Chief Executive John Hanke stated at GamesBeat 2016 that it’s “tough to understand where you want to draw the line,” but with sponsors, they “ wouldn’t have to cave to that pressure to just dial it up a little more.” This is for a game that, according to analytics company App Annie, has earned upwards of $10 million a day in revenue, despite its initial problems including frequent crashes and players wandering into dangerous areas and getting robbed.
John Hanke also stated that he was hoping devices could make players more alert of their surroundings. The first attempt at such devices being the Pokemon Go Plus, which on the low-end costs around $35 currently, but it frequently goes out of stock leading to price fluctuations.
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