In a recent interview, John Hanke – Chief Executive Officer of Niantic – revealed that Pokemon GO would be gaining sponsorships to accompany the revenue gained from in-app spending. Hanke went into details about the thinking behind this decision, saying:
"The idea with real world games was to build an advertising model that is deeply tied to the way the game itself works… so it doesn’t break the flow of the game. It doesn’t feel like something is grafted on. That’s what we’re trying to do and it will provide a compliment to in-app purchase. In app-purchase will be the majority of the revenue, but it does take some of the pressure off of us to squeeze hard on the purchase side which would be detrimental to the game."
Hanke's statement comes not long after news that Pokemon GO had established a tie-in deal with McDonald's restaurants in Japan, making 3,000 of them appear as in-game Gyms. This could be a sign that Niantic is considering the possibility of phasing out microtransactions in favour of a sponsor-based model, though only time will tell if this turns out to be the case.