Fast Food

McDonald’s Japan lures customers with Pokemon toys ahead of restaurant game launch

In this Monday, July 18, 2016 photo, a stuffed toy of Pikachu, a Pokemon character, is surrounded by children during a Pokemon festival in Tokyo, Japan.

In this Monday, July 18, 2016 photo, a stuffed toy of Pikachu, a Pokemon character, is surrounded by children during a Pokemon festival in Tokyo, Japan.  (Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistribu)

As Pokemon-obsessed fans eagerly wait for the launch of Pokemon GO in Japan, McDonald’s has swooped in to fill the void by offering Pokémon figurines in its Happy Meals.

Since Friday, when the Pokémon figurines were first offered, McDonald’s Japan saw its shares jump as much as 23 percent, according to Bloomberg.

Earlier this week, company officials confirmed McDonald’s Japan agreed to become the first paying game sponsor, which will transform all 3,000 restaurant locations in the country into Pokemon gyms, turning each McDonald’s into a hotspot for players-- and boosting the potential drive real-world traffic to the restaurants.

In the augmented reality game, gyms are digital arenas, located in physical spaces, designated for battling other trainers' Pokemon and earning more points.

The launch of Pokémon Go in Japan, which was scheduled for yesterday, was postponed, due to the leak of an internal communication from McDonald’s Japan which detailed launch but went viral before the company was ready to go public with the news. A source said the companies behind the game were worried that the hype generated would overload the platform.

But don’t worry Poke-players, the launch is “imminent,” but an exact date is unspecified.

Love Pokemon GO? See how other restaurants are using the game to attract customers.