If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Niantic must be blushing constantly, as numerous copies of Pokémon GO have spawned over the past year or so, seeking to capture the same success, often adding the lure of tangible prizes from brand partnerships.
Freeze Tag, Inc., creators of Garfield GO, is the latest copycat (no pun intended). Available for iOS and Android, their game operates on the same premise as their peers, with digital treasures found in real-world locations that add up to gift cards from Amazon, Domino's Pizza, and others.
While others have gone with original intellectual property for their games, Freeze Tag has taken another page out of Niantic's playbook by licensing well-known characters from an established franchise.
As such, instead of pokeballs, players toss slices of lasagna into Garfield's bowl, with the feline taunting players on misses and gobbling the serving on a successful toss. Garfield will then dart away, and player must move their camera view to find him and the treasure box he presents.
Instead of collecting pocket monsters, players in Garfield GO can collect comic strips, hats for Garfield to wear, or trinkets which can be redeemed for rewards. In place of gyms for battling, Garfield GO offers mini-games at certain locations to earn food and coins.
Freeze Tag utilizes the location data developed by Munzee (who also offers a location-based scavenger hunt game of the same name for iOS and Android) for Garfield GO. This week, the two companies merged, proceeding under the former's banner.
"After working closely together for nearly a year, we both realized that combining our individual strengths into one entity will create a powerful force in location-based gaming going forward," said Craig Holland, CEO of Freeze Tag, in a statement.
The company intends to leverage their combined technology and Munzee's location data to offer gamified location-based advertising services. The location-based mobile ad market produced $12.4 billion in 2016 and is expected to grow to $32.4 billion by 2021, according to research firm BIA/Kelsey.