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'Pokémon Go' Leak Hints at Massive Starbucks Promotion

Pokémon Go may have struggled to maintain its initial swell of popularity over the past few months, but at its peak the game was an obsession for millions of amateur trainers. Now, there’s evidence that a major effort to realize the game’s potential as a marketing tool is set to launch later this week.

Leaked employee memos suggest that international coffee shop chain Starbucks will be hosting a Pokémon Go event starting on December 8. The promotion will apparently center around a new variation on the company’s Frappuccino blended beverage, according to a report from The Next Web.

Niantic, Inc. will apparently turn the majority of company-operated Starbucks locations in the United States into Pokéstops or Gyms ahead of the event. When players visit these locations in-game, they’ll be presented with the opportunity to “unlock” the themed drink — but all customers will have access to the product.

More: Pokémon Sun and Moon are of America’s fastest-selling ever

The bigger draw for players is the fact that the promotion is rumored to introduce a brand new Pokémon to the game. Alongside the drink, visiting a Starbucks location and swiping its marker will apparently secure access to the new creature, although there are few details about how this process will work.

It’s easy to see how a desirable new Pokémon would be the obvious reward for a promotion like this. The initial Pokémon Go craze may have passed, but plenty of players would likely return to the game for curiosity’s sake if one of the often-discussed legendary birds was made available in this way.

Fortunately, we won’t have to wait too long to find out what rewards are available as part of the Pokémon Go-Starbucks cross-promotion. If the event is indeed legitimate, it’s scheduled to get underway this Thursday morning, and will continue as long as supplies of the new Frappuccino mix last.

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