Can one make a living out of playing Pokémon GO?

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JULY, 2016

Pokémon GO has undoubtedly reached a level of success most mobile apps only dream of, with data showing that it’s become the most successful mobile game in US history. And as with any other thing that has the potential to get people hooked, there are some that take their obsessions a little too far.

A 24 year old bartender from New Zealand has recently quit his job to become a full time Pokemon hunter. He plans to take a two-month long, country-wide tour hunting virtual monsters through the financial support of his friends and family. He’s become somewhat of a mini celebrity, with transport companies even offering to help him hunt for rare pokemon in remote areas and people all over the world sending him messages of support through Facebook.

It’s the kind of story that would make you wonder if you should be glad that the modern world is finally creating more job opportunities catered to those with unconventional skills or worried about what seems to be a sign of a declining rate of sanity in young people.

But besides the absurdity of it all, it does beg the question; can you really make a living off of playing Pokemon Go?

Well, there are easy ways to make a little money out of it here and there, but turning it into a full time job would require you to put in a lot more effort and be more skilled than the average player.

Sell accounts

The best way to make money playing Pokemon is to offer your services to other players. Take advantage of how popular the game has become. Such an engrossing game would, without a doubt, strengthen the competitive spirit in most people and you’d be surprised just how much people would be willing to pay for the bragging rights they obtain once they’ve managed to surpass the level all their friends are at. A quick search for higher level Pokemon Go accounts on ebay will show you just how desperate some players can get, with some accounts attracting bids even up to thousands of pounds.

Based on craigslist and ebay listings, most accounts above level 20 are priced around at least $100-200.

Let’s say you’re able to get one account to level 20 each week, and sell it for RM250, you’ll be able to make RM1000 a month. It’s definitely possible, provided you have a good strategy and know the right moves to make.

Become a PokéStop driver

When taking breaks from playing the game, you could make the most of your free time by becoming a PokéStop driver. Playing the game as often as you do, you should have a good idea of where to go for popular PokéStops and gyms.

Malaysian weather is not kind to pedestrians and so a service shuttling gamers around would do pretty well.

Make sure you have a decent vehicle and charge an amount that would ensure a fair profit and you should be good to go. If you’re also in the business of selling Pokemon Go accounts, being a PokeStop driver would benefit you as well.

Become an egg hatcher

Eggs are special items in the game that require the player to walk a certain distance in order for them to hatch into Pokemons. The current eggs available need walks that are either 2km, 5km or 10km long.

Like the PokeStop driver, your success from this gig relies a lot on the laziness of the general public and the fact that no one wants to walk for 10km in the scorching heat because let’s be honest, most Malaysians have never in even thought about running a 10K, let alone walk it.

You could charge about RM5 per kilometer and, to maximise profits, carry multiple phones with you at once. Even if you spent just one day a week walking 10km and only had five customers, you could make RM1000 a month.

Set up concession stands at PokéStops

A lot of PokéStops are conveniently placed near restaurants or cafes, with news that some places might even soon partner with Pokémon GO to become sponsored locations. However, quite a few PokéStops have been placed at pretty odd locations that are far from anywhere you could get snacks or drinks.

If you want to go all out and bake cookies and cupcakes everyday, it’s very likely that you would do rather well, especially if you made themed products, like a Pikachu-shaped cookie or a cake that looks like a pokéball. However, even a small stand selling lemonade would attract a satisfactory crowd.

Market Pokémon goods

Pokémon goods have always brought in a lot of revenue, but are likely to bring in even more now that the whole craze has resurfaced again. Maybe you’re an artist and would like to sell some fanart, or perhaps design some T-shirts. There are numerous things you could do to use the game as a marketing opportunity.

An attractive or unique product would be high in demand now that Pokémon has once again become the most talked about trend. There are even items up for sale, taking advantage of the resurfaced craze, that have no relation to Pokémon, such as this bike on Craigslist that’s great for Pokémon GO hunting.

So, can you really make a living playing Pokémon? Well, it depends. Not the answer you wanted to hear, but a lot of your success depends on how long the newfound Pokémon fever lasts. The game hasn’t even been released in Malaysia yet so it is still uncertain how much Malaysians would be willing to pay for hacked accounts or Pokédrivers. We’ve also yet to touch on the questionable legality of most of these gigs. Whether or not you’d be successful in making a career out of Pokémon is a pretty murky area, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying. Perhaps quitting your job right now to become a Pokémon hunter is a little too ambitious, but working on building your career in your free time might bring unexpected returns.

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