View from the Game Store is a column by Marcus King, Owner of Titan Games & Comics in London, Kentucky. This week, King talks about Pokemon Go and how he's monetized the game for his store.
Well, it’s been about two months since Pokemon Go launched, and it has been exactly five weeks since I started playing. Today I made 26th level. Which is about 18 levels higher than I ever made in a tabletop RPG. I have been playing every day. Not since Civilization 2 launched have I played any game so often, for so long. And, I am nowhere near bored with it yet.
At my store we have been trying to figure out how to leverage Pokemon Go to our financial gain. We are carrying every product Pokemon-related that we can find, from phone cases to plush and much more (see “The ‘Pokémon GO’ Gear Guide: Top 10 Accessories | Heavy.com”).
We also started doing Pokemon Go events. For a $3 entry fee, and players register their trainers level, name, and starting stardust. They play for 3 hours, and come back and show us their trainers again, and we see how much Stardust they have gained - the top 1/3 of players each get $10 in store credit. We also end up selling a lot of related merchandise to our player base. It has caused our Pokemon CCG Event each Monday to grow as well.
I think Niantic has really made the game of the year in my opinion - at least the year so far. I have been dealing in Pokemon cards and merchandise since the first set came out in the states. But, I have never played the CCG, never played any of the video games, never watched the cartoon, and never read a book or seen the TV show. But, I have made 26th level in 5 weeks. That is not quite an obsessive level of play, but it’s dedicated. I made level 5 without spending any money. Then, I bought some balls, and lucky eggs and incense, and went from level 6 to 11 in one day. From there I have been playing a couple hours a day every day, and sometimes I take the family and we drive a route hitting gyms and stops for hours - my wife and I alternating driving chores.
I now run 9 incubators all the time, turn on my Pokemon Go app whenever we travel (to rack up kilometers for the eggs), and use a Lucky Egg any time I am evolving a Pokemon, and use incense any time I am hunting.
I look at this from a money spent standpoint - and I am literally pitching nickels at Pidgeys. For those unfamiliar with the game: You throw pokeballs to catch Pokemon. If you buy pokeballs from the app, it costs 100 coins for 20 balls. And, you get 100 coins for 99 cents. (Although I buy my balls in larger quantities, so I am actually pitching 4 cents at a time, it rings better to say “Pitching Nickels at Pidgeys”.
And, there are a LOT of people pitching nickels. One source says there are 9.5 million users.
That’s a lot of nickels.
I am hopeful that Pokemon USA, Niantic, Nintendo and whomever else has a license to product products with a licensed Pokemon or Pokemon Go theme gets on it fast. I’d like this holiday season to be a Very Pokemon Christmas (or holiday of your heritage or tradition).
Okay, gotta go. A customer just said there is a Pikachu behind Walmart.
The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of ICv2.com.