The creator of mobile game Pokemon Go is exploring more sponsorships by companies that want to attract players to their businesses, the chief executive of developer Niantic Labs said on Tuesday. Niantic is talking with companies interested in partnerships similar to the deal that turned nearly 3,000 McDonald's restaurants in Japan into stops for collecting virtual supplies or "gyms" for on-screen battles, Niantic Chief Executive John Hanke said.
Paid sponsorships can reduce the company's reliance on in-app purchases by players to generate revenue, Hanke said at the GamesBeat 2016 conference.
"It's tough to understand where you want to draw the line," Hanke said. By adding sponsorships, the company felt "we wouldn't have to cave to that pressure to just dial it up a little more."
Pokemon Go exploded after its introduction in the United States on July 6, sending players into city streets, offices, parks and restaurants to search for colorful animated characters.
The smartphone game uses augmented reality and Google mapping to make animated characters appear in the real world. Players see creatures overlaid on the nearby landscape that they see through a mobile phone camera.
The game has been downloaded more than 100 million times, according to analytics company App Annie, and earns more than $10 million in daily revenue.
Nintendo is developing a device that can be worn on the wrist and alerts players when a Pokemon creature is nearby. It will launch in September.