Pokémon GO has taken Gainesville, and the nation, by storm. You may have heard the popular Pokémon slogan, “Gotta catch ‘em all!” Well, local businesses are also trying to catch ‘em all – customers, that is.
This free mobile application (app) features an interactive game for smartphone users. In its first week alone, the app attracted more downloads than Candy Crush, another mobile game craze that previously brought in 20 million daily users. In comparison, Pokémon GO has brought in more than 500 million downloads to date.
Local businesses are benefitting from the phenomenon. Elixir Lounge Smoothie & Juice Bar, a new business in downtown Gainesville, has seen a drastic increase in fo
ot traffic since the game’s launch in July. The smoothie shop has had multiple Pokémon in range of its doorstep, which means gamers are frequently walking by in hopes of “catching” the mystical creatures hanging around.
Like many other restaurants and bars, Elixir has found ways to capitalize on the trend. Elixir gave discounts to users who set up “lures” within the Pokémon GO game to attract other players to the store.
“During the initial three to four weeks that the game launched, it was bringing in over 75% of our total business,” said Elixir’s owner Lawrence Clay. “Players would see our sign and drop lures to receive our discounted beer and smoothies, attracting even more players to us.”
Elixir’s sign advertising the Pokémon discount went viral on Reddit with more than 500,000 views and more than 200 comments. One user said, “You have to admit what Pokémon GO is doing for communities is amazing. Bringing people together, helping local business, and getting gamers supposed to be basement dwellers out in the world!”
The game appears to be a win for gamers, a win for local businesses, and even a win for our community’s health. The app requires players to walk around town to catch the Pokémon, which is a drastic increase in physical activity compared to playing a video game on the couch at home!
While the app’s activity has died down some since the launch July, Pokémon GO continues to make national headlines, so area businesses still have time to cash-in on this mobile obsession.
For non-Poké players, here are some of the top Pokémon terms to help decipher what the sensation is all about:
- Trainers: People who play Pokémon GO.
- Poké Balls: Items used to capture “wild” Pokémon. Wild Pokémon are those that haven’t been captured yet.
- Lures: You can attract wild Pokémon to a Poké Stop for a limited time with a Lure Module.
- Poké Stops: Locations where you can obtain tools such as Poké Balls and Eggs.
- Gyms: Areas where you can battle the Pokémon of rival players/teams, or you can “train” your Pokémon by battling against others on your own team.
By Koertni Blackketter