In the past few weeks or so my Facebook news feed has been quite nostalgic. Why not? With countless posts from my friends boasting about their latest Pokémon catch from the recently released Pokémon Go! Android and iOS app, I can’t help but to feel like I’m constantly being thrown back to the simple days of 1996, with a younger version of me watching Pokémon on network TV from Mondays to Fridays wishing I could be Ash in my own fantasy world and catch ’em Pokémons (especially you, Pikachu. And also you, Mewtwo)!
If you think I’m going crazy and don’t even know what I’m talking about, you may be living under a rock. For those of you who’ve been living under a rock and in case you didn’t know, there’s a recent worldwide hype going on with a mobile game called Pokémon GO, which was developed and released by Niantic. The app is an augmented reality game that encourages players to go out of their dwellings in search for a Pokémon, catch and store them inside a highly specialized Poké Ball. You can then train your Pokémon, engage them in a battle, or trade them with other players. What is Pokémon, you ask? It is a shorter version of ‘Pocket Monster’ – they are cute and mythical characters with their own unique and incredible powers. Whatever. Yeah. Just watch the vid below.
Did the video get you all pumped-up or what (particularly at 1:50)? Now I don’t like downloading apps on my smartphone, especially mobile games because I don’t want to get hooked in them apps and waste my precious time so I don’t even try downloading apps. Call me an old fart but that’s just me (and I for one am not an old fart! J). But Pokémon GO is one exception. Mainly because I am a fan, and also because this is a disruption to every digital and marketing norm we’ve come to know:
1. It’s basically catching a Pokémon in the real world.
Most online games and apps let you play in the convenience of your man cave (or woman cave or femme den) and interact with other players online, while Pokémon GO requires you to actually go out of your comforts and explore in search for a Pokémon and actually meet and interact (and even date, with this app being now more popular than Tinder) with other players.
2. It has a sentimental value to it
Majority of online games are new ideas and brand new creations that equally catches our attention. Contrastingly, Pokémon GO is a combination of old creation and new innovation which effectively tugs the heartstrings of those who’ve come to love Pokémon way before the advent of mainstream social media.
3. It innovated a new way to promote and market a business
We all know that online apps and games need to earn at some point. While most online games earn through the usual ad placements, Niantic (Pokémon GO developer) is on to something mind-blowing and potentially disruptive and change the way businesses promote their products. And what I mean by that is that instead of placing ads, small business can literally and physically lure their customers to their physical stores as part of their marketing strategy. We’ll talk more about that later on in this blog post.
And item # 3 above, my friends, is what’s causing all the fuzz in the gaming and digital marketing industry, as well as small businesses trying to attract new customers. After all, everything we’ve learned about this innovation just now is just the beginning and I strongly believe there’s more to come for Niantic, provided that they come up with more tactics to consistently excite and attract more “Poké Players”. Pokémon GO also has given new and unspoiled insights to the mobile app world that left developers and start-ups scrambling to identify new business opportunities given this disruptive innovation.
So what is my point, exactly? Sorry for the VERY long introduction (I got carried away by Pikachu’s cute little cheeks, ehem).
What’s in it for us regular individuals and small-time entrepreneurs? My point here is that there’s a new opportunity that’s just popped out of nowhere ready for us to harness and take advantage of. I mean if we are “Poké Fans”, why not make money out of it, right (I think I sounded a bit greedy there – sorry about that)? And this is an unspoiled opportunity that hasn’t been explored yet – we just need to be creative in how we identify money making opportunities to our advantage.
I have listed down some possibilities for us average individuals. I know the possibilities are endless and we may be barely scratching the surface, but here goes my initial list (this is by far the cutest topic I ever wrote about money making, so I hope you’ll enjoy this article as much as I did writing this and share this with other “Poké Friends” of yours as well):
1. Pokémon Collector Items
If you’ve been living in the same house since 20 years ago and if you recall having collected “Poké stuff” in the 90’s, start scrambling over to your basement, attic, under your bed, or under your kitchen sink to find your pre-loved “Poké stuff”. Just as the value of Nintendo stocks have sharply risen to $7.5 billion in just two days because of Pokemon GO, that “Poké stuff” of yours might well be worth something right now, and in the days to come.
Flashback in 1998 when the Pikachu Illustrator card was released – there were only six cards were created, adding to its extreme rarity that left many fans wanting it even more. In the recent years, one of it was sold for USD$20,000. Just last year, a mint condition of it was sold on eBay for a headache-inducing, whopping USD$150,000. With the Pokémon GO just released just this year and all the massive following and hype it has created, who knows how much the next Pikachu Illustrator card and other Pokémon collectibles will fetch for?
2. “Poké services”
Since this game requires players to go out and explore, die-hard game addicts will go anywhere to catch that ultra-rare Ditto. Ehem, Uber, Grab, and other private drivers out there, that’s already one fun opportunity for you – to drive players around and help them catch their Pokémon. Help them and you already have a ‘rewarding’ job you’re longing for, plus you get to earn from it. If you need inspiration, this woman drives players around and advertises her services on Craigslist.
There are lots of other different “Poké services” you can think of – just be creative and you’ve got your next big business model. By the way, is “Poké concierge” a good idea?
3. Rare Pokémon = Serious money
Speaking of ultra-rare Pokémons, this is something die-hard players could take advantage of. You go great lengths to find that rarest of them all pocket monster, and then what you get is bragging rights. But what if you can actually cash in on all of your efforts? After all, catching that Pokémon is already time, money, and effort you’ve invested on. Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is currently running a contest, giving out $5,000 to the one who catches the rarest Pokémon around one of Ripley’s locations in the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. Unfortunately, this contest is not available here in the Philippines, but soon enough there will be contests every now and then around the world.
Also since the game will soon allow trading of Pokémons between players, it’s no brainer that players will eventually resort to cash exchanges in exchange for trades. So if I were you, start collecting rare Pokémons already, and evolve less rare monsters into stronger ones – it’s a digital investment in itself. If you need a guide on the list of rare Pokémons and some tips to actually find one, then this guide is for you. Also, for us based here in the Philippines, here is a comprehensive list of rare ones and their locations.
If you are a small business owner having a coffee shop, bar, a canteen around the corner, or any other business that need customers physically coming in to your establishment – this one’s for you.
As I’ve mentioned in my very long introduction, it’s what’s causing all the hype in digital marketing right now. Basically, you can use “Lures” to attract technologically-savvy, money-clad, and hungry players to your shop, all ready for you to sell to, or offer marketing freebies to them. Why would they come in, you ask? Because you’ve placed a lure that will magically signal to players that there’s a Pokémon in the house ready for them to catch. What’s even more exciting is how affordable it is to buy ‘lures’ from the Pokémon GO app. $100 gets you 14,500 Pokécoins, where a pack of 8 lures costs only 680 Pokécoins. Each lure you activate lasts for 30 minutes (watch your empty diner fill with Poké players during this time). Do the math, and you’ll find that it only costs $1.19 per hour to attract wild Pokémon and new customers all day.
If you’re fortunate enough that Niantic identifies your business/proximity as one of the Pokéstops (where you collect rewards), or Gyms (battle ground for players), then lucky you – no need to place lures because your place is already a meeting point for players by default. Talk about prime real estate there.
If you have a small business and you’re reading this – I bet you’re already smelling money coming in your way.
5. How about a new career or start-up business? Just my thought on this (might be stupid, might be feasible).
Does Pokémon Master, Senior Pokémon Analyst, or Pokémon Lure Specialist sound like an exciting job title? If there is already a booming industry for Social Media Analysts for those businesses needing presence and following on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, (if Pokémon GO continues to live on) it’s highly likely that businesses wanting to attract players will need the help of expert Pokémon GO-savvy analysts to help them boost their businesses. And don’t even get me started with IT consulting firms and start-ups that’ll create opportunities and start to venture out and build a business around this much celebrated app.
Since this is just my absurd idea, let’s see if this prediction will actually materialize in the future. If you are a Pokémon GO enthusiast and this “prediction” of mine comes true, then you might be the next candidate for this role. Just imagine what your resume would look like. And I can only imagine you during your interview, telling your interviewer: “You teach me and I teach you. Gotta catch ‘em all, Pokémon!”
My two cents.
Again, we’re barely even scratching the surface. This may be just the beginning, and the possibilities are endless. The opportunities mentioned are not only limited to Pokémon GO, but with future augmented reality apps and games as well. You just need your creative imagination, and PLEASE, think out of the box and go out of your man cave already.
Are you already cashing in on this hype that is Pokémon GO? Feel free to comment, share your tips, or ask a question. Please also like me on Facebook and Twitter! Thank you!