McDonald's Holdings, Pokémon Go tie-in takes off

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TOKYO – Pokémon Go finally launched in Japan, and McDonald’s Holdings Co. is acting as a corporate partner. The partnership with McDonald’s Holdings represents the first sponsored location in the game. Niantic, Nintendo and the Pokémon Company are behind the game.

Using GPS, the augmented reality game lets players search for digital characters that pop up on smartphone screens in real-world locations. McDonald’s Holdings, a unit of McDonald’s Corp., agreed to turn 3,000 stores into “gyms” where players can train their characters or “Pokestops” where players can get “Poke Balls” and other items needed to play the game. McDonald’s restaurants can potentially boost traffic and sales.

Since the launch of Pokémon Go, the app has surpassed 30 million downloads and generated more than $35 million in revenue. Pokémon Go is available for iOS and Android in more than 30 countries, but until now the game wasn’t available in Japan where the characters originated.

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