Pokémon is back with Nintendo and Niantic’s latest free-to-play mobile game called Pokémon Go.
Since its July 6 release, the game has amassed approximately 9.55 million total daily users, according to Recode.
And some Portland-area residents are capitalizing on that booming user base as a business venture, providing services like personal drivers, professional trainers, egg hatchers and more.
Incorporating the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon, the game uses augmented reality to get people to physically travel around their communities to catch Pokémon.
The game uses your phone’s GPS to create a simplified map of the area, complete with streets, parks and waterways. Players travel through the real world to find certain landmarks, referred to as Pokéstops in the game. Those areas allow users to gain experience and collect items, like more Pokéballs, which help players catch more Pokémon. Within the game, users can also collect eggs that only hatch after traveling a certain number of kilometers.
OPB reached out to each of the 11 Craigslist ad postings related to Pokémon Go on July 13.
On the morning of July 13, Andrew Flynn posted a Craigslist ad, which has since been removed, to offer his services as a personal driver, charging rates ranging from $45–$85 per hour depending on the time of day.
Flynn received seven requests by the end of the day.
“I am merely taking advantage of a city where people who do not have cars are doing something that requires them to want to use a car,” he wrote in an email. “My rates reflect these facts. Should the market or the economics of the time change, I’m entirely flexible.”
William Asa also posted an ad to offer his services as a driver, charging $30 per person. Despite receiving offers, he has yet to schedule any rides. To avoid any type of liability issues, Asa wants to obtain all the required permits and licensing with the City of Portland and Bureau of Transportation.
He isn’t too worried about paying the $500 for the permits and licensing but has yet to figure out how much commercial vehicle insurance will cost him. “Once I do my homework on all permits and licensing, I will assess if this will be a feasible or not,” Asa said.
Both Flynn and Asa have worked for ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft.
While most people are offering driving services for Pokémon Go users, James Campbell offers to hatch eggs for $20 through PayPal.
“Hatching eggs on Pokémon Go requires a lot of walking and some people may not physically be able to do it,” Campbell said. “Others may not have the time. With the popularity of the game it seemed like a great opportunity.”
Campbell hasn’t received any replies on his offer because he believes people are apprehensive toward giving out their account information. Despite issues with privacy, such as the iOS app previously demanding full access to all of your Google information, players continue to dedicate more time to the game.
A study by Sensor Tower shows that five days after the game’s release, the average daily time spent per user in Pokémon Go surpassed Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter.
While it’s not clear how much money Portlanders and other entrepreneurs are making off of Pokémon Go, the app has helped Nintendo’s market value shoot up by $17 billion according to Reuters. The Nintendo stock rose 10 percent on Friday and increased by 86 percent in over a week.