Harry Potter: Wizards Unite isn't a week old and changes are already coming to gameplay. On Monday, game developer Niantic announced the game's first real-world interactive partnership. A new collaboration with AT&T and Simon is making select AT&T and Cricket Wireless retail stores, as well as Simon Malls in the US special locations inside the game. AT&T and Simon locations are already active and Cricket stores will activate on July 15.
The witches and wizards immersing themselves in Wizards Unite will be able to go to one of these real-world stores and find a special Inn or Fortress inside the game. They will offer more XP at Fortresses and more Spell Energy at Inns than you'll find at any non-sponsored location.
"We're excited to team up with AT&T and Simon to create a variety of custom Harry Potter: Wizards Unite gameplay experiences for players visiting the thousands of retail stores and large-scale shopping destinations around the United States," Omar Tellez, vice president of strategic partnerships at Niantic, said in a statement. Obviously, the company wants to make money, and this gives a little insight into ways that the creators could start to leverage the number of people playing without getting players to make in-game purchases. (Though, they want those too.)
In addition to the bonus XP and Spell Energy, the release notes that players will be able to take part in "limited time quests only available at AT&T and Cricket locations to help them level up faster." Moreover, the release previews what kind of events might be coming down the line. "AT&T will also be a key sponsor at Harry Potter: Wizards Unite real-world events in the future," it says. It's something Niantic has done for Pokémon Go in the past with mixed results.
The partnership with Simon will be slightly more limited for users since there are only around 200 locations. Simon Malls, Mills, and Premium Outlets have already implemented "an amplified Harry Potter: Wizards Unite" experience with "increased rewards and elusive enemies," the release states. Simon properties will also host real-world events and specialized QR quests sometime in the near future.