Imagine every Starbucks in your town is a “Pokémon GO” gym, every McDonald’s a Pokéstop.
That future is coming, whether you like or not. It’s a future that’s already arrived in Japan — starting soon, all 3,000 McDonald’s locations in Japan will become “Pokémon GO” gyms, The Guardian reports.
That’s the next major step for “Pokémon GO,” the mobile Pokémon-catching game that’s quickly become the cultural touchstone of the summer. The McDonald’s partnership is such a major addition that the game’s been delayed from launching in Japan until Thursday at earliest (it was supposed to go live on Wednesday). The game’s developers are worried that the online game’s servers will buckle under the weight of all the new players.
There’s solid logic behind their concern.
Not only is the game already enormously popular, but Japan is the country where Pokémon originated. To call it “big in Japan” is a dramatic understatement. When you pair that enthusiasm with the world’s most popular fast-food chain, things could get out of hand rather quickly.
So, what’s in it for McDonald’s?
The idea is simple: By making McDonald’s locations into Pokéstops, more people will go into the already popular fast-food chain. And players not only get more Pokémon Gym locations, but a place to sit and have a meal while battling.
It’s not as though the move is unexpected or without precedent.
The folks behind “Pokémon GO” made a game before this one that’s strikingly similar, called “Ingress.” It’s the same concept of blending the real world with the virtual using your phone’s GPS and camera, and it has the same idea of Pokéstops and Gyms.
And in “Ingress,” the development studio partnered with Jamba Juice (among others) to create branded locations in the real world where players could both interact with the game and, potentially, buy something.
It may seem a bit icky, but you don’t have to necessarily go inside any of the participating locations to reap the rewards of Pokémon Gyms. And who doesn’t want more Gyms?! (Monsters is the answer.)