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Pokemon Go players will start seeing Sponsored Gift balloons in-game

Pokemon Go Tornadus counters
(Image credit: Niantic)

Pokemon Go developer Niantic has begun rolling out Sponsored Gift balloons worldwide after a successful trial period in certain territories. 

The Sponsored Gifts are small in-game bonuses that are provided by businesses with the aim to advertise their content to Trainers. According to Niantic (opens in new tab), players will be able to opt-out of this feature in the game’s settings and those with child accounts will not receive Sponsored Gifts at all, even if their account holder gives permission to. 

According to EuroGamer (opens in new tab), US food delivery service GrubHub was one of the first companies to help trial this feature and were offering some players items such as Stardust, Poffins, and Lures. The Sponsored Gift balloons work by occasionally popping up on a player’s screen, and once opened the player will be able to receive the items on offer, see what brand sent the gift, and will have the option to learn more about them. You can see this in action below: 

Sponsored Gifts will pop up during visits to any Gyms and PokeStops, with some containing sponsored messages relevant to players' actual location - which could potentially give way to small businesses getting in on the action too. Niantic has reassured players that these gifts are different to the gifts you can send to your friends and turning off the Sponsored Gift option will not affect friend’s gift exchanges.

This isn’t the first time Pokemon Go has partnered with a brand either, as the mobile game also had a collaboration with The North Face x Gucci which required players to visit real life Gucci stores to gain limited edition avatar items. These items were later given away by Niantic with a redeemable code in response to players needing to stay home during COVID-19 pandemic. 

Find out about next month’s in-game event that will introduce Legendaries Xerneas and Yveltal to Pokemon Go.

After studying Film Studies and Creative Writing at University, I was lucky enough to land a job as an intern at Player Two PR where I helped to release a number of indie titles. I then got even luckier when I became GamesRadar's trainee news writer where I get to spread the word about the goings-on in the video game world. My expertise lies in Animal Crossing related topics after spending the last 15 years immersing myself in island life. I also know a thing or two about The Last of Us, and way too much about the Kingdom Hearts series.