Those who haven't been living under a rock during the past week have undoubtedly noticed that something called Pokemon Go has seemingly taken over the U.S.
Call it nostalgic catharsis for stressed-out millennials in a violence-weary world, but the mobile device game is dominating Facebook and Twitter feeds. More than 7.5 million people have downloaded the game in the past week.
The game is the newest installment in the Pokemon universe, which for 20 years has been featured in video games, card games, movies and television shows. It has been a huge hit with millennials, the generation that played the original Nintendo games as kids when they debuted.
Pokemon Go was developed by Niantic, a start-up spun off by Alphabet last year. It was released as a game for Android and Apple iPhone devices on July 5 but suffered from technical difficulties until last Friday, which is when the game began to pick up momentum in downloads.
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The game has been downloaded more times in one week than Tinder, a dating app owned by Match, has been downloaded in its four years of existence. Pokemon Go is on an estimated 5% of all Android phones, versus a little more than 2% for Tinder.
And if it keeps growing at this pace, the game will soon overtake social-media network Twitter.
The success of Pokemon Go has already had an effect on the stock market. In fact, on Monday Nintendo shares soared by 25%, the video game maker's biggest one-day increase since the 1980s, adding more than $9 billion to the company's market value.
Nintendo is a major investor in Niantic, as well as in Pokemon Co., which manages the franchise.
The time to catch that huge wave has passed, but McDonald's could be next.
In an interview with The New York Times, Niantic Chief Executive John Hanke said that in the future the game will incorporate sponsored "PokeStops" at which players are encouraged to stop for points and other bonuses.
And now it looks like the first sponsored stop might have been discovered: McDonald's. A few gamers examined the game's code this week and discovered a few strings that appear to reference the fast-food chain.
McDonald's has been trying to woo millennial customers by introducing more menu items and even moving its headquarters from the suburbs to a hip and trendy neighborhood in downtown Chicago. For the most part, these efforts have been working, with the company recording a boost in revenue.
The inclusion in the Pokemon Go game could have many more millennials streaming through the Golden Arches.
Since the rumors of McDonald's sponsorship began to circulate, the stock spiked in after-market trading has risen.
But Pokemon Go isn't the only reason to invest in McDonald's. The company's transformation plan is opening it up to more growth in customers and profits.
In return, McDonald's investors stand to collect long-term profits. Far from just serving greasy burgers, McDonald's is a classic stock and an excellent company for investors who are interested in the restaurant sector.
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