Niantic announced today that all gyms in Pokémon GO will be closed while the company prepares to celebrate two major anniversaries for the game. There will be updates, in-game celebration, and the first ever real-world Pokémon Go event.
Updates will arrive shortly after the anniversary; they will be "focused on collaborative group gameplay features." Gyms will be closed "for a short period of time" to enable preparation for the updates. The updates will be available on all platforms.
The Solstice Event for the 1-year anniversary of Pokémon Go's launch will start on June 13. Niantic is also celebrating 750 million downloads of the game, globally. The Solstice Event will have players encountering more frequent Fire type and Ice type Pokémon, getting significant XP bonuses for accurate PokéBall throws, and finding big discounts on Lucky Eggs at the in-game store.
The Pokémon GO Fest Chicago will be July 22nd, in Grant Park, Chicago, Illinois. Tickets will become available Monday, July 19 at 10:00 am PDT. The Pokémon GO Live site and Pokémon GO's social media channels will be updated to remind trainers when the tickets become available.
There will also be an event called "Pikachu Outbreak" in Yokohama, Japan, in August. In Europe, there will be events in various locations from June to August. Niantic says that more details of celebrations will be shared in the upcoming weeks.
Pokémon GO first became available on June 6, 2016, and became popular even among those who may not have played earlier, more traditional Pokémon games. When the game began, it was alternately praised for encouraging outdoors activity and criticized for distracting people from the real world. Accessibility and cheating concerns have also been raised. However, the combination of real-world interaction with a cheerful search for colorful monsters seems to have kept its appeal for many. The anniversary events could give trainers even more motivation to catch 'em all.