After its July 6th release, Pokémon GO skyrocketed onto every one's radar and to the top of sales charts becoming the biggest mobile game in US history. Due to the nature of game-play, horror stories quickly followed; including two men falling off a cliff and players being robbed at PokéStops. Yet despite legitimate risks, Pokémon GO appeared to be an unstoppable force.
When it was confirmed that Pokémon GO had more access to user data than was revealed, Niantic (the developers behind the game) released a generic statement denying fault and promising a fix. A lack of features, however, is what finally led to a sharp decline in active users around mid-August -- just about one month after the game's initial release. With the app seeing a 22% decline so quickly, many thought the trend was coming to a close, but nothing was farther from the truth.
Niantic had rolled out a sponsorship model in their Japanese market; partnering with mega brand McDonald's to turn over 3,000 locations into Poké gyms. The team-up must have worked well because Niantic just announced that 7,800 Starbucks locations across the US will also become Poké gyms and PokéStops. This news comes on the heels of an the news that Sprint is also an official partner, making room for about 10,000 new PokéStops as well. Of the Starbucks partnership, Niantic had this to say:
"Starbucks has a long-standing commitment to providing spaces for social interaction and real-world community building in its extensive network of locations. We appreciate their role in creating safe, welcoming locations for people from all walks of life to come together for refreshment and social engagement. [These new] PokéStops and Gyms [will] Trainers even more places to play and to engage with their local Pokémon GO communities."
Players can now use free WiFi at Starbucks to battle other teams for control of the location. If glory in battle isn't enough to entice players and patrons alike, Starbucks has, of course, concocted a "special-edition Pokémon GO Frappuccino®."
For the millions of players who have stuck around, Niantic released a major update, at the beginning of November, to the game's experience and Stardust points to now reward those who stay engaged. Lack of objectives at higher levels has been a complaint of players from the beginning, but it looks as if Niantic has listened and addressed this major concern. More updates are expected next week after the official Pokémon account tweeted that, "More Pokémon are coming to #PokémonGo! Stay tuned for details on 12/12, Trainers!" The info might include an official announcement of the 100 or so new Pokémon that were discovered in an updated Pokédex.
Pokémon GO is available for download in the App Store or Google Play.
Source: Pokémon GO
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