Sunday, August 14, 2016

Fitbit should make a strategic alliance with ‘Pokemon Go’

I don’t usually offer suggestions on possible business deals. The last time I did was in August 2012 when I said Lego should buy the developer of the video game Minecraft. (Ultimately Microsoft stepped up to buy Mojang, developer of the hit virtual world-building game, in September 2014 for $2.5 billion.)
Now I’m convinced that Fitbit, the maker of wearable fitness devices, should strike a strategic partnership with Niantic, developer of the hit “Pokemon Go” augmented-reality smartphone game. I don’t think Fitbit should attempt to buy Niantic, but I wouldn’t rule out a strategic investment.
Here’s my reasoning:
I’ve owned a Fitbit wrist-worn activity tracker for a few months now. But it wasn’t until the release of “Pokemon Go” came out on July 6 that I was motivated to go for walks. Measuring steps taken, stairs climbed and calories burned wasn’t much motivation for me.
But now that I can catch digital creatures called Pokemon while out on walks and hatch Pokemon eggs by walking. It’s a lot of fun and something I can share with my two kids who also play the game.
Fitbit should cut a deal to be the official fitness tracker for “Pokemon Go.” They should work with Niantic on special perks for Fitbit users. For instance, Fitbit users could hatch Pokemon eggs with steps taken instead of the inaccurate distance measuring tool Niantic now uses.
Or perhaps Fitbit fitness bands could be set up to vibrate when a Pokemon is in capture range. Fitbit could add a special app for its Blaze smart fitness watch devoted to “Pokemon Go.” It also could sell Pokemon-themed wristbands for the Blaze and Alta fitness band.
I’m not the first person to mention that “Pokemon Go” has positive fitness aspects. Other people have had similar experiences with the game.
That’s some free advice for Fitbit and Niantic to use as they please.

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