COVID-19 has hit the world hard and that has extended to the world of gaming. Niantic Labs has been among those hit, since one of its flagship games, Pokemon GO, largely revolves around going outside. But the developer has not only withstood the storm, but has also used its platform to help many of the less fortunate. That will extend to the COVID-19 recovery process, as the developer detailed on Monday how it plans to help local businesses recover from the pandemic.
Poke Stops have been a key component of the Pokemon GO experience. They're largely determined by the team at Niantic, as well as by various corners of the player community. But integration isn't free. In fact, it's part of the Pokemon GO business model. But seeing as times are tough, the development team is going to do its part to support struggling small businesses through the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative.
The Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative will allow community members in the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico to nominate their favorite local and small businesses. These can be businesses that are considered backbones of a small town or a big city. Niantic will examine these requests and grant 1,000 storefronts full Poke Stop status for one year for free.
It is Niantic's hope that once businesses are ready to open back up, they can use their Poke Stop status to attract prospective customers. Once customers are already swinging by, the hope is that they'll give the business their patronage and help them along on the road to financial recovery.
If you want more details on the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative or you want to nominate a local business, visit the Niantic Labs website.