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Niantic launches first in-game 'rewarded AR' advertising collaboration in Pokémon Go

In-game AR ads are Niantic's new hope for fresh revenue as Pokémon Go numbers slide
Niantic launches first in-game 'rewarded AR' advertising collaboration in Pokémon Go
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Niantic, the developers of Pokémon Go are set to go all-in on rewarded gameplay to open new revenue streams.

The new rewarded AR ad format was announced earlier this year, to be powered by Niantic’s own 8th Wall platform. Now, Niantic has debuted one of the first campaigns to utilise this new method, a collaboration with the snack-brand Lunchables. The campaign includes the appearance of “immersive branded content” that rewards players who interact with them.

The move is possibly related to flagging engagement for Pokémon Go, as while the title still makes an enormous amount of money for Niantic, changes to features such as raids and remote play have not been well received by players.

Head of brand marketing partnerships Erica Kovalkoski at Niantic said, “Rewarded AR Ads are immersive, fun, and an easy way to reach an audience that we know is looking for more ways to engage with the brands they love.”

“Around 80% of our players love the idea of AR ads in games like Pokémon Go. It’s an enjoyable experience for the player and an opportunity for innovative brands like Lunchables to deliver a brand experience their customers haven’t seen before,” she added.

80% of our players love the idea of AR ads in games like Pokémon Go

Associate brand manager for Kraft Heinz - manufacturer of Lunchables - Christina Brown noted, “We’re constantly seeking new, innovative ways to grow our brand and when it comes to reaching our parents and kids, we see huge potential in AR advertising.”

“It’s exciting to be the first brand partnering with Niantic on a Rewarded AR Ads campaign allowing us to engage with our target audience in a unique and unexpected way to help us grow brand awareness and affinity while encouraging rewards program participation,” she added.

Turn the other cheek

While AR advertising is an interesting way of monetising a game like Pokémon Go, it remains to be seen how this will resonate with players. Whether this will prove a great new way of letting brands engage with the title’s audience, or prove to be an immersion-breaker will be a key indicator of just how feasible this new revenue stream is for Niantic.