Blog > Expanding the Gameboard of the World with Small Businesses
November 6, 2019
Expanding the Gameboard of the World with Small Businesses

It’s our vision to create a gameboard that embraces meaningful and interesting locations and ultimately feels more relevant for our players wherever they are in the world. We’re developing technologies that expand our ability to map and understand the world around you which are essential in creating a better and more immersive experience whether you’re playing in a city or in a rural area. High level players can even submit new game locations with photos, titles and additional information they want in their game through the Wayfarer program, creating more ways for players to build out their own gameboard.

The world is also made up of businesses that are a core part of everyday life. On a regular Saturday, for many of us, going out in the world more often than not means visiting businesses -- from running errands at stores to visiting restaurants and other venues to socialize. As we look to expand the gameboard to be even more relevant to our players’ daily lives, these businesses, big and small, will play an integral role in blending the real and digital worlds together to bring magic and fun to more everyday moments - even running errands.

Today we’re announcing a Beta program for qualifying small and medium businesses with brick and mortar stores to easily activate sponsored locations. While we’ve worked with large nationwide businesses such as McDonalds and 7-Eleven in Japan, AT&T in the US and many more to create sponsored locations, this is the first time mom and pop shops can easily and quickly become a part of Niantic’s products.

We are always transparent and open to our players regarding sponsored locations and feel they mutually benefit our players and these businesses. Players have more locations where they are welcomed to play with their friends and access to special experiences sponsored by businesses, and businesses can attract more awareness and foot traffic while creating new layers of fun engagement at their real world locations. In addition, this may also create a potential new revenue stream for developers building experiences on the Niantic Real World Platform, without the interruptive nature of traditional advertising.

We do want to take a moment and remind everyone that, by default, sponsored locations are not visible to children without explicit parental permission. For more information on how we obtain parental consent and how we maintain our players’ privacy please visit our privacy policy here.

Starting today, small and medium sized businesses in the US can apply to join our Sponsored Locations Early Access Beta program, before we begin to launch in December, by visiting: www.nianticlabs.com/sponsoredlocations

We’re looking forward to building the gameboard together with our players and businesses around the world.


—Carla Li, Product Lead for Sponsorships

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