Starbucks is the latest company pairing up with the mobile gamePokémon Go, turning more than 7,800 of its stores into Pokéstops and Gyms, the latest push by game creatorNiantic Labs to generate fresh buzz for the summer phenomenon.
Pokémon Go surged in popularity in the U.S. after its July launch, allowing players to seemingly catch Pokémon in the real world through an augmented reality experience. Players seek out Pokémon using a GPS interface, then attempt to capture the creatures with help of their smartphone camera.
The game broke the first-week downloads record on Apple's App Store, and was the fastest to 50 million downloads overall.
Pokéstops are places tied to real world locations where players pick up items like potions to heal characters or Pokéballs to capture them. Gyms are where players can take their Pokémon to battle.
"The physical locations component of the collaboration is important to us as we look for ways to use technology to encourage exploration, exercise and real world social interaction," said Niantic CEO John Hanke in a statement Thursday. "Starbucks’ footprint throughout the U.S. provides an awesome platform."
Starbucks will also sell a special Pokémon Go frappuccino, a variation on the chain's vanilla bean frappuccino.
The Starbucks partnership is part of an effort by Niantic to recapture some of the buzz from the game's launch. The company says it will reveal details on introducing more Pokémon to the game next week, and it is also partnering with wireless carrier Sprint for a special in-game experience within stores.