Niantic CEO John Hanke gave an in-depth interview at the GamesBeat 2016 summit in Los Angeles about the genesis of Pokémon Go and the realities of keeping a mega-hit mobile game afloat.
Speaking about the McDonalds Japan partnership, Hanke said those corporate sponsorship deals take the financial pressure off the game and reduce the need to “dial up” in-app purchases to keep the game economically viable.
Hanke said his team are currently talking to “a bunch” of different business about new sponsorship deals and that the big advantage of Pokémon Go is how it can bring people to real world locations, which is not something a lot of other games can do.
When asked about the now prophetical Pokémon/Google Maps April Fools’ Day video Hanke said the video garnered around 18 million views, which lead to his team reaching out to The Pokémon Company once more and proposed they “build a real game around on that concept”.
Tsunekazu Ishihara, CEO of The Pokémon Company, who was already a huge fan of Niantic’s first big mobile augmented reality game Ingress, was excited about the concept from the start. “I’ve given a lot of pitches for different kinds of businesses and partnerships through the years,” explained Hanke, “but this was one where from that very first meeting, it seemed inevitable.”
Hanke also spoke about building Pokémon Go from scratch and not working off of the code behind Ingress, adding that Pokémon Go “would have absolutely crushed our first-generation technology”.
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