Pokémon Go updates: all the news and rumors for what’s coming next
Pokémon Go: the world's first augmented reality app to become a household name. Niantic's mobile AR game is still going strong two years after it first released, with a constant drip of events and updates keeping budding trainers glued to their phones and pounding the streets.
And while it hasn't managed to top the peak of its popularity in 2016, it's still going strong and finding plenty of new ways to improve its player experience. Including making it easier for its players to catch 'em all from inside their own homes during coronavirus quarantines.
So what's the latest news for Pokémon Go? As you'd expect, brand new features are being added all the time and themed events are still going strong.
But without further ado, here's our guide to all the latest Pokémon Go news and updates.
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Pokémon Go news and Pokémon Go updates
- What's new? Niantic has announced an at-home Pokémon Go Fest experience for 2020 as well as some new AR features for select devices
Niantic is planning some global downtime for Pokémon Go on June 1 between 11am and 6pm PDT/ 6pm and 1am GMT. During that time, the game will be inaccessible due to server maintenance.
New AR Features
Niantic is rolling out a couple of new AR features for Pokémon Go which take advantage of improvements in technology on select handsets.
The first feature is Reality Blending. On devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 3, and Google Pixel 4, Buddy Pokémon will appear more realistically in the world through AR mode. This means they'll move behind objects and be partially or totally obscured when they do so.
This feature is going to roll out to test for a random selection of trainers using Android devices including Samsung Galaxy S9, Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 3, and Google Pixel 4. The plan is then to roll it out to more devices further down the line.
The second new feature will be an opt-in feature called PokéStop Scan which will be available to trainers over Level 40 in early June before rolling out further.
PokéStop Scan is an adaption of a feature already found in Ingress, which will allow players to upload videos of real-life PokéStop and Gym locations to Pokémon GO. Those who opt-in will be ask to record a video of a PokéStop or Gym location from several angles and these videos will then allow Niantic to generate 3D maps of the locations. According to Niantic, the aim of this is to achieve "a better understanding of how virtual objects persist and where they are in relation to one another, which will help us improve the game’s overall AR experiences. In addition, the 3-D objects allow our devices to further understand what they are looking at in order to augment reality in real time."
Niantic has assured players that object and face blurring techniques are automatically applied to the videos that are sent in.
Coronavirus play-at-home changes
Given Pokémon Go is a game which attempts to draw its players outside, Niantic is having to react to the Coronavirus pandemic and make some temporary changes which will make it easier for players to continue to catch 'em all without stepping over the door.
In a statement to Polygon, the developer has said that it's “prioritizing updates to Pokémon Go features and experiences that can be enjoyed in individual settings.”
The changes are already in place and include increasing habitats so that more Pokémon should appear around player's homes.
Other moves from Niantic are a 99% reduction on incense packs so that players can attract Pokémon to where they are and increase spawns with the time they work increased to one hour rather than just 30 minutes.
Incubators will also result in hatches at double speed, while PokéStops will drop gifts more often.
Niantic has also announced a new feature called 'Today View' which gathers a lot of useful information like streaks and current events in one place so that you can keep on top of your game.
As of March 31 Niantic has temporarily doubled Pokémon Go's Gym interaction distances to allow players to "team up in Raid Battles from home".
"The distance from which you can interact with Gyms has been temporarily doubled, allowing you to be farther from Gyms and other Trainers as you challenge Raid Bosses," Niantic wrote. "This change also allows you to spin Photo Discs at Gyms if you are within the doubled distance; however, it will not change the distance required to spin Photo Discs at PokéStops."
As of April 15, Niantic has made it possible to Raid remotely. With the new Remote Raid Pass, Trainers will be able to access Raid battles from a Nearby screen. At first, Trainers taking part in battles remotely will have the same attack power as those there in person. Later (at an unconfirmed time) remote power will reduce and those in person will have higher attack power.
Niantic has said that other adjustments will also be made to the feature over time, including changes to the number of players who can remotely Raid and the ability to incite friends into Raids regardless of location.
To take part you'll be able to buy individual passes in the in-game shop for 100 PokéCoins though later there will be a 1 PokéCoin bundle in the shop that will feature Remote Raid Passes.
Since there are far fewer chances to spin PokéStops, at midnight each day players will also get a bonus Research Task. Slightly different from Field Research Tasks, these will focus on activities that can be completed at home.
As far as Gifts are concerned, Buddy Pokémon of any level will now bring Gifts to Trainers when they're running low so that it's easier to keep in touch with friends and family. Gifts are an important way to stay in touch with friends and share items.
Finally, it's now possible to activate multiple Star Pieces, Lucky Eggs, and Incense at a time to extend their effect durations. Each of these items will have a 30-minute duration but you'll be able to activate more of them in order to extend their durations beyond that for up to 24 hours per item.
Niantic has launched a Play at Home guide for its website that's also to be available in-app to help players navigate this new way of catching 'em all.
Pokémon Go Battle League
Its first season now finished up, the second season of Pokémon Go's competitive Battle League began on May 11. Trainers who took part in the first season and achieved a rank of 7 or higher will have received an Elite Charged TM.
Trainer Battles within the GO Battle League will rotate between three leagues and players will be able to rank against fellow Trainers, earning rewards for ranking.
The GO Battle League is beginning with the Great League until June 1, which will be followed by the Ultra League until June 22, then the Master League until July 6, after which all three Leagues will be available until July 13. Season 3 is expected to begin on July 13, when each of these Leagues has been cycled through.
Players can earn Stardust depending on rank and number of battles won as well as items like Rare Candies and TMS as well as the chance to get exclusive Pokémon encounters.
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Niantic is continuing to waive the walk and pay entry requirements for Battle League. Players who are not in-game close friends will no longer need to be close to one another to Battle and will be able to send Battle requests to Good Friends and above. Trainers can now also initiate battles through QR codes which can be used regardless of friendship levels and distance.
Other things remaining the same are that Metagross and Pikachu Libre are still reward encounters when you reach rank 1 and rank 10 respectively and the Steven Stone avatar items remain rank 10 rewards.
Some changes are being made to Battle League based on learnings from the first season, most notably the reward system which will now allow players to earn a reward encounter after their third win on basic rewards track or their first win on the premium reward tracks.
The ranking system has also been altered so that more wins are needed to achieve ranks 4, 5, 6 and 7.
While some guaranteed reward encounters have remained the some, some will be different for Season 2. Now players will encounter Stunfisk at rank 4, Rufflet at rank 8 and Scraggy at rank 9. Rank 10 will bring a new avatar pose.
Those who finish Season 2 at rank 7 or higher will receive an Elite Fast TM this time around while the other end-of-season rewards will stay the same as in Season 1.
As of April 10, you can see who's doing well in the Pokémon Battle League thanks to the launch of the GO Battle League leaderboard on PokemonGOLive.com. The leaderboard has come as the GO Battle League changes from Ultra League to Master League.
The leaderboards show the top five hundred Trainers in the world as well as their Trainer nicknames, teams, ranks, ratings, and total matches.
Rankings are based on the previous day’s in-game ratings for Trainers rank 7 and up but it'll update between 8pm UTC and 10pm UTC every day unless maintenance issues cause a delay.
What's the next Pokémon Go Event?
Pokémon Go Fest 2020
Niantic is going ahead with Pokémon Go Fest for 2020 but it'll be a little different from 2019's experience. Taking place on July 25 and 26, this global virtual event will allow players to take part from their own homes, with all ticket holders able to attend both days.
Niantic has said "While we’ll miss the traditional congregation of Pokémon GO fans, we’re thrilled to bring a special Pokémon GO Fest experience to Trainers. Not only are you in for an exciting weekend of bonuses, Pokémon encounters, and Special Research, there will also be exciting ways to connect with other Trainers and experience other fun surprises throughout the entire summer."
More information on Pokémon Go Fest is expected in the coming weeks and we'll update this page as that information is revealed.
Live Safari Zones
Niantic has announced that Pokémon Go Live Events will be coming to Taiwan, the US and the UK this year. The first event in Taiwan which celebrated the Lantern Festival has passed, while the others are still to come and will be ticketed at a cost of $12/£12 for General Admission and $18/£18 for Early Admission.
Due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, Niantic has stated that it will be postponing all of its Safari events with plans to look for alternate dates in the next 12 months. Players looking for refunds for their digital passes are encouraged to reach out through in-app support by March 25.
- March 27 – 29: Safari Zone St. Louis, Missouri, US (Postponed)
- April 17 – 19: Safari Zone Liverpool, UK (Postponed)
- May 8 – 10: Safari Zone Philadelphia, US (Postponed)
When's the next Pokémon Go Community Day?
- What date is the next Community Day? June, exact date TBC
- Who's the starring Pokémon? Weedle
Once again Niantic has allowed Pokémon Go players to vote for the Pokémon they want to see featured in the game's Community Day. Now that the votes are in it's been confirmed that bug-type Weedle will be the starring Pokémon for June, with the exact date for the event still to be confirmed.
Bonuses for the day are yet to be confirmed too but with regards to event-exclusive moves, Beedrill will be able to learn the Ground-type attack Drill Run.
Pokémon Go update: what's next?
Now that Go Battle League has arrived in Pokémon Go, Niantic has ticked another big promised feature off its list. At the moment, we're not sure what's next for the game aside from, naturally, new Pokémon being added. We'll update here when the roadmap becomes more clear.
- Check out the best and weirdest Pokémon Go stories so far
Pokémon Go Plus deals
Want to buy yourself a Pokémon Go Plus wearable? Check some of today's best deals down below.
(Image credits: Niantic/Pokémon Company)
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