Niantic has launched its Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative, a community aid project that aims to help local businesses impacted by the ongoing pandemic by leveraging Pokemon Go’s sizable playerbase.
The studio has selected 1,000 small businesses from a list of over 38,000 player submissions that came in from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., and Japan, businesses that range from family-owned bakeries and hair salons to small apparel stores and hobby shops.
Each of those businesses, which themselves must operate five or less storefronts and follow local health and safety regulations, will be added to Pokemon Go as sponsored locations for the next year.
Niantic says the goal here is to help drive awareness and commerce to smaller local businesses that could benefit from a bit of both during these trying times by adding them into the location-based game both as player-attracting PokeStops or Gyms and enabling them to run promotional campaigns in the app.
More information on the program and Niantic’s future plans for the initiative (including a launch for its other games) can be found here.