With the global COVID-19 pandemic preventing Pokémon GO players from venturing into the real world, developer Niantic has adapted the game for trainers to play in a socially-distanced manner.
Likewise, with the annual Pokémon GO Fest, typically an exclusive gathering of players taking places in a select few cities, Niantic is taking the opportunity to put a virtual spin on the festival and expand it to a worldwide event spanning two days on July 25–26.
Here's how you can take part the virtual event.
While Pokémon GO Fest won't have a physical location for admittance, you'll still need a ticket to play. Tickets cost for $14.99 and will go on sale at 10 am Pacific on June 15 through the in-app store (accessible through by tapping the Pokeball from the game map). The tickets are good for admission to the entire weekend.
Your money will go to a good cause as well. Niantic will donate the proceeds from ticket sales (with a minimum commitment of $5 million) to fund projects from African-American game developers and AR creators built on the Niantic Real World Platforms and to support US non-profits in community rebuilding efforts.
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Niantic will also provide attendees with printable activities and decorations to enhance their virtual experience.
Are these crafts necessary to play along? No, but, if anything's worth doing, it's worth going all the way with it.
The festival will revolve around a new storyline and adventure, with field research challenges related to the story taking place in the week leading up to the virtual festival.
During the event, players will traverse virtual habitats that rotate every hour. In total, players can discover more than 75 unique pocket monsters throughout the weekend.
In addition, a Global Challenge Arena will provide cooperative tasks, such as sending gifts to others, for players to complete. Once the quota is met for the challenges, special in-game bonuses will be unlocked.
Niantic will launch a new feature called Niantic Social on Pokémon GO in time for the festival. The in-game hub will serve as online presence, showing which of your friends are currently playing the game, and a scoreboard, displaying stats like distance traveled on foot.
In addition, the GO Fest Virtual Team Lounge will enable players to interact with other trainers worldwide, enter giveaways, and get information on festival activities.
Niantic has faced problems with past events, so a weekend-long, worldwide event is ambitious. If all goes as planned, though, it could revolutionize how brands execute special events for their fans.
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