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Pokemon Go dev says sponsored locations can earn it nearly $0.50 per visitor

Niantic has told TechCrunch that the company's sponsored locations (businesses that pay to have their locations turned into Pokemon Go gyms) are 'spending less than $.50 / daily unique visit.'

A representative from Pokemon Go developer Niantic has told TechCrunch that the company's sponsored locations (businesses, like McDonald's and Starbucks, that pay to have their locations turned into Pokemon Go gyms) are "spending less than $.50 / daily unique visit."

This is useful info if you're still keeping tabs on the augmented-reality game, which became a global phenomenon after it launched last year and boasted 65 million monthly active users a few months ago.

While the game does offer players the option to purchase in-game boosts for real money, Niantic founder John Hanke memorably argued last summer that sponsoring locations was a "better business model for games" than in-app transactions because it puts less pressure on the dev team to design a game that's profitable. 

While Hanke admitted that "we kind of caved a little bit when we spun out and added in-app purchases to Ingress, and we of course launched Pokemon Go with in-app purchases," we now have a better idea of what sort of business he was talking about when he championed sponsored locations in mobile games.

TechCrunch estimates that, based on McDonald's cutting a deal last summer to promote 3,000 of its Japan stores via Niantic's sponsored locations biz (or "cost per visit [CPV] model") and a Niantic executive later telling a Brazilian newspaper that the deal brought those locations an average of 2,000 visitors per day, Niantic could have earned as much as $3 million per day if McDonald's was paying the stated maximum $0.50 rate.

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