It looks like Pokémon Go’s first sponsored location is set to be McDonald’s, a partnership that will see the fast food restaurant’s 3,000 locations across Japan become in-game gyms, according to TechCrunch.
Pokémon Go is set to launch in Japan tomorrow — the country where the series originated — according to various reports from different publications.
This report corroborates Niantic CEO John Hanke’s recent interview With TechCrunch where he discusses the fact that “sponsored locations” are set to come to the game soon, allowing companies to create gyms at retail locations in order to attract customers.
On the plus side, McDonald’s offers free Wi-Fi, so Japanese Pokémon Trainers checking out these sponsored locations at least won’t use up their data while battling.
It’s unclear if these sponsored McDonald’s locations will rollout in Japan first and then the rest of the world. We also still don’t know exactly how these sponsored locations will work in the game. Given the skyrocketing popularity of the of Pokémon Go , which has reportedly doubled Nintendo’s market value, the various sponsorship opportunities are far too lucrative to just turn all McDonald’s locations into generic gyms — there will likely be some kind of other tie-in as well.
Pokémon Go’s impending McDonald’s sponsorship deal was uncovered earlier this week after players began analyzing the augmented reality game’s code.
Pokémon Go is currently officially available in over 30 countries including the U.S., Canada and most of Europe. Bloomberg is reporting that McDonald’s Japan share price has already sky rocketed as a result of Pokemon-branded Happy Meals, even before the game’s official launch.
Related reading: 3,600 people plan to ‘catch ’em all’ at Pokémon Go’s Canadian release party [Now with Video]