Pokemon GO developers Niantic have announced exactly how they'll be celebrating the game's first anniversary and the milestone of 750 million global downloads. First released in July 2016, Pokemon GO quickly took the world by storm and for a month or two, the world was a happier place with budding trainers giddily exploring the great outdoors in search of rare monsters and teaming up to take down Gyms. Naturally, the craze didn't last and downloads soon dropped significantly.
Nevertheless, the game remained incredibly popular in the mobile gaming market and Niantic have attempted to maintain interest in Pokemon GO by holding several holiday themed events. For example, the Easter event which included several attractive benefits such as cheaper Lucky Eggs and better Pokemon to be found inside 2k eggs.
Niantic have now revealed the event details for the game's first birthday that will include both real-world and in-game celebrations, as well as completely new features. In the game, a Solstice Event will be held on June 13th which will include a variety of familiar treats for players. Somewhat more intriguingly, the developer has also confirmed new "collaborative group gameplay" features will be added to the game and Gyms will be temporarily suspended in order to perform this update. Back in the real world, the first Pokemon GO Fest Chicago will be held in Grant Park, Illinois on July 22nd. European players will be able to enjoy events in Unibail-Rodamco shopping centers from June to September.
Certainly then, there's plenty to get excited about. But the addition many players will be most looking forward to is the new collaborative features. Although the information is deliberately vague, Pokemon GO fans will no doubt be hoping that this refers to the long-mooted addition of battling and trading between other players.
Of course, some may claim that these new features and events are too little, too late and that Pokemon GO is far from the phenomenon it once was, with many players no longer active. Although the addition of the Johto region creatures helped revive the game's popularity somewhat, Pokemon GO has lost a lot of custom due to poorly received changes such as disabling the ability to play the game as a passenger in a vehicle.
With that said, there is clearly a core fan base still very much active in the world of Pokemon GO and the quest to "catch 'em all" remains as challenging as it always has been. If the new collaborative features are indeed trades and battles with friends, there's a good chance many players could be tempted back but they'll have to do some serious level grinding to keep up with the hardcore bunch.
Tickets for Pokemon GO Fest Chicago are available at pokemongolive.com/fest from June 19th.