Niantic has announced plans to assist 1,000 small businesses with its Local Business Recovery Initiative. Following up on this summer's announcement of the initiative, which encouraged Pokémon GO players from around to globe to nominate local businesses for consideration as points of interest in the game, Niantic has released details on how they will help and even what some of those businesses are.
Mentioning the small businesses F.M. Light & Sons in Colorado, Chop Chop Shop MX in Mexico City, Blitzkrieg Chop in West Sussex U.K., and Five Girls Baking in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada, Pokémon GO developer Niantic wrote:
"In the near future, these small businesses will not just become PokéStops or Gyms in Pokémon GO, they will also be empowered to run promotion campaigns that reach players nearby, and take part in other in-game events and new features. Niantic's Local Business Recovery Initiative is designed to spotlight some of the most beloved local businesses in communities around the world to our players. Becoming a sponsored location will highlight these businesses for our Explorers and aid in the recovery of the businesses and the communities which they serve."
In their announcement, Niantic spoke on the impact that the COVID-19 global impact has had on local businesses. With this new initiative, Niantic plans to use Pokémon GO to help "revitalize local communities."
Players familiar with the PokéStop and Gym systems within the game know that major corporations such as Starbucks and Baskin-Robbins are often found as in-game points-of-interest. These newly added small businesses will join the pool of sponsored locations in 2021, but that this addition will be free for the business. Out of over 38,000 businesses, Niantic has selected a staggering 1,000 to support with Pokémon GO. It will be interesting, as Niantic expands on their sponsor relationships with events, how all of this plays out both for businesses and players next year.