Three years after initially releasing for iOS and Android, Pokemon GO has remained popular with hardcore fans of the franchise and newcomers alike, and developer Niantic wants to allow small businesses to use the mobile title as a promotional platform by opening their own PokeStops and Gyms through a new subscription service.

With the new program, set to launch this winter in early access, Niantic is expanding Pokemon GO’s current capabilities to allow all small or medium-sized businesses with physical locations to apply for their own presence in the app. $30 a month will cover a sponsored PokeStop with the ability to share promotional material in-game, and $60 a month will add a full Gym to the location. The upgraded plan will also allow business owners to schedule Raid Battles to drive foot traffic, lasting one hour and available on a monthly basis. Applications for the program are currently exclusive to businesses based in the United States.

pokemon go pokestop

For players of Pokemon GO, the program’s introduction could mean that the landscape of the game could evolve over the coming months as new locations emerge and existing ones upgrade themselves. Fans should take note just in case a PokeStop near them turns into an elaborate Gym with EX Raids and Field Research Tasks overnight, or if the locations near them start to change their appearances in-game.

Pokemon GO will be the initial launch platform for Niantic’s sponsorship program, but the studio plans to introduce support for its additional titles like Ingress and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite in the future. While allowing businesses to directly handle their own locations’ involvement in the game may not be a direct solution for the occasional clashes between Pokemon GO's in-game activity and life in the real world, it shows that the studio has learned and grown since rolling out its most popular title.

Pokemon GO is available now for Android and iOS.

Source: International Business Times