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Pokemon Go Boosts Sales at GameStop Stores, May Launch McDonald’s Partnership in Japan

Pokemon Go
Courtesy of Niantic

Breakout mobile game hit Pokemon Go is starting to generate some significant revenue in the real world: GameStop CEO Paul Raines told The Street this week that the game is starting to have a notable impact on his chain’s stores. Now, McDonald’s seems to be getting ready to get in on the action as well and become the game’s first official sponsor for physical locations.

Pokemon Go encourages its players to visit places in the real world, which are being used to unlock in-game items. So-called Pokestops for example can be use to charge up on Pokeballs, which players need to capture Pokemons.

Pokestops are often associated with historical landmarks, murals and other points of interest — but GameStop discovered that 462 of its stores are also within reach of a Pokestop or similar in-game location. Sales at these stores increased by 100 percent over the past weekend, according to Raines, who added that the chain has also seen sales of Pokemon merchandise up across all of its stores.

The overlap of GameStop stores and Pokemon Go locations seems to be coincidental, but game maker Niantic Labs has long hinted at plans to monetize Pokemon Go through partnerships with physical retailers. A first such partnership could launch as early as this coming Wednesday, according to a Techcrunch report.

That’s when Pokemon Go is reportedly launching in Japan, where McDonald’s will be the game’s first commercial partner. At launch, 3000 of the fast food chain’s restaurants across Japan are going to become in-game locations, with the hope that players will order some burgers and fries to celebrate their latest caught Pokemons.