The Pokemon Go fever may have cooled off, but that doesn’t mean the hit mobile game isn’t able to lure new partners.
SoftBank Group Corp. announced an alliance with the game’s developer Niantic Inc. that designated about 3,700 of the mobile carrier’s stores in Japan as PokeStops and Gyms within the location-based game. These virtual gathering points are popular with users seeking rare Pokemon or looking to battle other players.
The shares of Nintendo Co., which created the game with Niantic and Pokemon Co., jumped 3.3 percent to their highest level in two weeks following the announcement. SoftBank’s stock climbed 1.6 percent. The Nikkei 225 Index rose less than 1 percent.
SoftBank’s Pokemon Go deal is similar to the one that McDonald’s Japan forged with the game’s developer at its July debut, fueling a 24 percent jump in the fast-food chain’s shares. In addition to its stores, McDonald’s Japan also included Pokemon-related toys with its Happy Meals, and said last month that the tie-up was helping to bring more foot traffic to its restaurants. Still, there’s plenty of reasons for investors to be cautiously optimistic about the latest partnership: McDonald’s Japan shares have given up all of their gains.
Niantic, partly owned by Pokemon, Nintendo and Google, spurred a global phenomenon after Pokemon Go’s debut in July. After climbing to almost 45 million daily users, its popularity has receded in recent weeks, with only about 30 million people logging on each day to play the game, according to researcher Apptopia.