Nintendo has undoubtedly benefitted from Pokemon Go’s viral success, adding an estimated US$9 billion in market value just days after the game’s launch – but that isn’t stopping others from trying to capitalize on the game’s popularity.
A series of strange businesses have appeared online catering to the seemingly obsessive nature of the game – from Uber-like services that offer to cart around users to prime playing locations, to betting rings asking people to wager money on how long the app will stay No. 1 in the App Store.
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That’s right; Craigslist users eager to make a buck have been offering to drive Pokemon Go players around various U.S. cities for a nominal fee. Some drivers even try to lure users in with the promise of free snacks.
“I will drive you around Portland Metro area while you play Pokemon Go. Rides will include snacks and beverages,” reads one ad in Portland. According to the ad, it will run you US$30 for two hours.
For $25 in Baltimore, you can be shuttled around by a very enthusiastic Pokemon chauffeur, who promises to drive at the optimal “egg incubation speed” (users must capture eggs in the game, which need to be incubated for a specific distance before hatching).
“Due to the speed we have to drive at to incubate eggs we will be avoiding highways and major roads,” reads the fine print.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious Pokémon Go experience and happen to be in the Vancouver area, you can hitch a ride in a Mercedes SUV. This will run you $50 for the first hour, plus $40 for every additional hour – plus, you’ll have to pay for parking.
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But it’s not just drivers who are looking to make a buck – people are quite willing to walk around and capture Pokémon on your behalf.
This Toronto Craigslist user will only charge you $15 per hour to capture every Pokémon he comes across, providing you give him your login credentials.
“I’ll send you hourly updates while you’re at work/class/ or on a hot date informing you of any really exciting things I’ve come across for you,” the ad reads.
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Someone has even created a business named “Pokewalk” which offers to pick up your phone and walk around to help hatch your eggs and capture more electronic creatures.
It’s unclear whether or not this is a serious business venture – or a clever plot to steal people’s smartphones – but Global News has reached out to the company for comment.
Meanwhile, Australian betting website Sportsbet has a number of Pokémon Go-related bets going.
You can place your money on how long you think the app will remain in the top spot of the app store; who the first politician will be to play the game in parliament; or who will amass the most players in 2016 – 桑拿会所, Facebook, or Pokemon Go.