With the Pokémon GO phenomenon showing no sign of slowing down, it was only a matter of time before someone saw the potential to make a living from it.
An English woman has quit her day job to become a professional Pokémon hunter. That’s right, she has a job that the 10-year-old me (and probably present me) would have in my wildest dreams.
Sophia Pedraza, from Barnet, north London, is the first in the UK to take the Poké plunge and the second in the world, after New Zealand barman Tom Currie, 24, quit his job to be a full-time player.
But while his reasons were purely for pleasure, Sophia is a bit more business minded.
I downloaded it and immediately realised there is money to be made. I’m going to do it for as long as it makes money. It’s a big craze at the moment and there’s money to be made but if it slows down I can always go back to teaching.
Sophia first thought of it as a potential moneymaker after scouring eBay and seeing that some accounts at level 20 and above were selling for £1,000, and even at level 15 bids were at around £100-£200.
The 26-year-old decided to download the game a fortnight ago, and just the like rest of us, she’s now absolutely hooked. Sophia plays the game pretty much all the time, but she doesn’t want her operation to stop there. Oh no, she’s thinking bigger.
If you put the time in you can get to level 15 after a day or two, [so] I plan to buy more phones and play multiple games at one time.
It’s probably worth noting that gamers who actually intend to buy and sell on eBay do massively risk having their accounts suspended, as it breaks Niantic’s terms of service which says that you can’t sell accounts for commercial gain.
But, saying that, that hasn’t put anyone off from bidding stupid amounts of money for those with the highest level accounts, containing the rarest of Pokemon.
In fact, one bidding war reached a staggering £7,300 before it was stopped, while another player has claimed that they made £1,144.
Despite its lucrative, albeit questionable potential, Sophia hasn’t put all her eggs in one basket. She also earns roughly £2,000 a month giving private lessons to children in maths.
What really attracted her to playing the augmented reality game for a living is the fact it gives you flexibility to play wherever and whenever you want.
Some days I play it for 18 hours a day because you can play all the time even when you’re out with your friends in bars and clubs. My mum thinks I’m mad but she’s coming round to the idea.
If only I could get my account a few levels up and find a super-rare Vaporeon, maybe it’d help me pay off my student loan.
I can dream…