Pokemon GO is everywhere. It's a pop culture phenomenon, the likes of which hasn't been seen since the series' original debut back in 1996.
After 20 years, everyone is obsessed with Pokemon again — which isn't as universally great as it sounds.
Sadly enough, there have been quite a few stories of gamers playing the game while driving, or kids stumbling across dead bodies while searching for an elusive Pokemon. That's not to say that Pokemon GO is at fault, it's just that the nonstop media attention surrounding the game is highlighting the negative aspects of the experience.
However, there are more than a few silver linings that come with Pokemon GO's absolute dominance over pop culture. Not only are people going outside and making friends with other players, but some local business are reaping the benefits: it's not a universal rule, but several stores and restaurants are reporting huge boosts since the app launched a few weeks ago.
Speaking with IGN, Bok Tower Gardens marketing director Erica Smith shared the success of the garden's first Pokemon GO event along with an ongoing boost in sales. Not only have ticket sales increased by an average of 10 to 15 percent, but the Pokemon GO event saw nearly 1,000 gamers attending — roughly triple the 350 attendee average.
Bok Tower Gardens is far from the only business seeing a boost thanks to the app: a small Florida pub named Hops and Props has seen record numbers since its nearby PokeStops went live. It's gotten to the point where the management doesn't even need to do anything, as players are constantly stopping by, dropping a Lure and pulling in the next set of gamers. Granted, there's no guarantee that this sort of momentum will continue — but for now, Pokemon GO has seemingly created its own sort of self-sustaining economy in some locations.
One could assume that the business boost would be somewhat limited (some neighborhoods are better for playing than others) but businesses around the country are consistently reporting sales boosts thanks to the app. The L'inizio Pizza Bar in Manhattan reported a 30 percent increase in weekend sales after spending just $10 on PokeStop Lures. Meanwhile, businesses in Pennsylvania, California and Texas are also citing Pokemon GO as the cause behind recent boosts in sales.
Even larger, national businesses are taking notice: Best Buy has been using the game as a reason for people to upgrade their phones, while Yelp added a "PokeStop Nearby" feature to its website. Big or small, it seems like a win-win for businesses: true, there are some cases in which enthusiastic gamers are overstepping their bounds, but those seem to be in the minority.
Frankly, it's amazing to see the success of Pokemon GO and the influence it's had on numerous different communities. Again, it's not a universal rule, but more people seem to be benefiting from the game — it really is a perfect example of how video games can both bring people together and serve as a catalyst for business.
Hopefully, Nintendo and Niantic can keep this momentum going. The game is still in its early stages, and there is a lot of room to grow: if Nintendo plays its cards right, Pokemon GO will be around for a long time.