Niantic Labs’ Pokemon GO will officially launch in India tomorrow after it was initially released worldwide in July. Currently the Virtual Reality game claims 500 million registered users worldwide. It is not clear if the app will be available on both iOS and Android.
MediaNama has written to Niantic for a comment and will update the story once we hear from them. A spokesperson from Niantic confirmed with MediaNama that Pokemon Go is launching on December 14th 2016.
In addition, Niantic has partnered with Reliance Jio wherein a select number of Reliance Digital Stores and partner outlets will appear as ‘PokéStops’ or ‘Gyms’ in the Pokémon GO game from tomorrow. Niantic has not made an official announcement on the India launch, however the statement put out by Jio quotes John Hanke, Chief Executive Officer of Niantic confirming the launch.
For Jio users, the Pokémon GO app will be not incur data charges until March 2017. Reliance’s messaging app JioChat will have a standalone ‘Pokémon Go Channel’ that will hold contests and special events for players. Last month, Pokemom GO launched in Philippines in partnership with local telecom operator Globe Telecom. Interestingly, the game was launched on the Apple Watch as well.
More partnerships to come?
Niantic makes money by “doubling” cafes, small shops, restaurants as PokeStops and Gyms, according to this Forbes report. Literally any shop owner can partner with Pokemon GO and transform the shop’s location as a “training gym” or deploy Pokemons in order to attract business. Reports have surfaced claiming that Niantic has partnerships with popular food outlets like McDonalds in Asian countries and with Starbucks in the US.
Apart from official partnerships, small shop owners can buy virtual Poke Coins and install virtual “Lures” in their shops to deploy Pokemons in their GPS location. This can attract nearby Pokemon GO users to their shops. More on this here. It will be interesting to evaluate how such a model takes off in India. It is probable that more official partnerships could be coming up.