McDonald’s might be one of the world’s most popular eateries, but it’s been struggling in Japan for close to two years now, posting losses every quarter since 2014. Now, thanks to the hit augmented reality app Pokémon Go, it’s managed to turn a profit, with sales spiking 19 percent during the quarter when the app was launched.
The partnership between McDonald’s Japan and Pokémon Go was announced a few weeks ago, before the game was available in Japan. Some 3,000 McDonald’s across the country became hot spots of Pokémon Go activity after being turned into Pokémon Gyms and Pokéstops. This, combined with a more traditional partnership in the form of Pokémon Happy Meal toys, spurred the rise of McDonald’s Japan’s fortunes.
Net income for the quarter ended in June was 390 million yen, or just shy of $3 million U.S. This was huge news for McDonald’s, and the fact that it was at least partly due to a Pokémon Go partnership should mean that we’ll see a lot of similar deals sprouting up all over the world.
Not that Niantic needs to strike such deals, of course. Pokémon Go has already raked in over $200 million for the developer.
Although questions still remain about the longevity of Pokemon Go, and whether a long-term collaboration will continue to drive a McDonald’s resurgence in Japan, confidence is high and share prices responded in kind, rising by 4.1 percent at the close of Tokyo trading earlier this week.
Executives at the company are keen to downplay any major potential , however, and have kept the estimates for annual net income at a billion yen ($10 million).
Not everyone is entirely convinced that this partnership will stand the test of time. Adage quotes a New York based analyst, Peter Saleh, who claims that this sort of deal will be very short term, as it hasn’t changed much about the business in a fundamental way.