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Pokémon Go Fest 2020 goes virtual this July, local community support initiatives and other new features announced

Today, Niantic announced some new details regarding the upcoming Pokémon Go Fest, which will take place globally on July 25 to 26. While past events have been centered towards local events with community participation, the festival will instead allow trainers from all around the world to participate with a $14.99 in-app purchase fee, though all players will have some special features added in the coming weeks, specifically Niantic Social, a supplement to the game that will allow friends to help each other in activities like raids.

Details of the press conference as referenced by a Niantic post are below:

A cornerstone of our mission at Niantic is to bring people together to form bonds that build community in the truest sense of the word. Creating a better and more equal society and rebuilding our economy is going to take leadership from both the public and private sectors, long-term commitment and a vast amount of hard work.

Our heartbeat is our community

Earlier this month, ​we shared how Niantic​ will support and stand together with the Black community. We’ll be donating a minimum of USD $5 million in proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest 2020 ticket sales with half being used to fund projects from Black AR creators and the other half going to U.S. non-profit organizations focusing on rebuilding local communities. We will have much more to share on these programs throughout the summer.

Niantic in 2020 and beyond

This year we’ve created a lot more features that expand on our core tenants of exploration, exercise and real-world social experiences. We’ve helped people play Niantic games from wherever they are, whether that’s taking a socially-distanced walk in a local neighborhood or playing as a family in a living room or backyard. Pokémon GO can play a role in contributing to a healthy body and mind by encouraging people to get outside and take a walk. In fact, Trainers have walked more than 28 billion kilometers and visited over 290 billion places while playing Pokémon GO. This is what guides us and drives us to create products and underlying AR technology that deliver on that mission for our players, day in and day out.

Adventures this summer with Pokémon GO Niantic live events have always been a key part of bringing our community together. From the early days of hosting several hundred Ingress Agents to the 2.7 million Trainers who have joined us at our Pokémon GO events around the world. It has always been remarkable to see our players come together, in-person, as one community.

As we look ahead toward summer 2020, we faced a complicated challenge that led us to fully reimagine Pokémon GO Fest and build it into a truly first-of-its-kind virtual experience in gaming.

Bringing the festival to you

While we can’t bring hundreds of thousands of people together in a local park, we can certainly recreate the spirit of what Pokémon GO Fest represents. We’ve designed this year’s event so Trainers around the world can go outside to play and celebrate the summer, and do so, of course, while practicing social distancing and being safe.

Pokémon GO Fest 2020 will be a full weekend event taking place on July 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. While tickets to past Pokémon GO Fest events sold out quickly, this year they will be available to all Trainers. You can now purchase tickets in the in-app shop for the weekend-long celebration for USD$14.99 plus any applicable taxes and fees (or the equivalent in your local currency).

We’re introducing a lot of new gameplay concepts for Pokémon GO Fest 2020 to make it an exciting, interactive and social weekend for everyone participating.

One of the most challenging aspects of hosting a virtual event is figuring out how to connect people together despite their distance from one another. We’re excited to announce that this month, we’re rolling out a new beta feature called​ Niantic Social​, coming first to Pokémon GO, which will serve as a single place to see which of your friends are online and playing Pokémon GO.

We’ll also be launching a Pokémon GO Fest Virtual Team Lounge which will be a way for Trainers to connect, participate in fun activities and giveaways, get a glimpse into the lives of Trainers from around the world, chat with the Niantic developers and get ongoing updates on the event.

Another new element of Pokémon GO Fest 2020 is the new free​ Print at Home Kit​ that will help fans get ready to celebrate through a set of printable Pokémon GO Fest activities and decorations.

This new truly virtual Pokémon GO Fest will be another step forward in helping an incredible community of players from around the world come together. You can read more about the specifics of Pokémon GO Fest 2020 at the ​Pokémon GO Fest website​.

Rebuilding our communities

As we look to the months ahead as parts of the world start to recover, we’re also thinking about how we can help safely reopen the outdoors and spark adventures again. We believe this starts by supporting small local businesses that are the backbone of our communities.

Today we’re introducing the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative, which gives the Pokémon GO community a chance to nominate their favorite local and small businesses to be among the 1,000 storefronts integrated into Pokémon GO for a year for free. We are seeking nominations for local businesses starting in the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico.

Once businesses are ready to open up in each region, they’ll be able to use our tools for in-game location to encourage people to safely explore nearby. You can find out more about the program and how to submit your favorite local business through the initiative ​website​.

In addition to the virtual press conference that occurred last week, we were able to ask a few questions regarding the upcoming events. We asked the staff at Niantic if the staff will keep or extend quarantine features (to balance the fact that trainers had to stay indoors since March) in the future to create a safer and more accessible experience to those who are physically handicapped or live in dangerous areas. The company’s official response was that these new features will continue to supplement, rather than replace, the core social experience of Pokémon Go, so while things like remote raids will be kept, the retaining of other features will be evaluated.

Virtual lounges will also allow players from all teams to communicate amongst each other, emulating the physical lounges from previous events. However, Niantic has promised that there are interactions that you can do between other trainers which are restricted to the same team. There will be no regional differences between rewards, as the Niantic wants to make a similar experience for all trainers, regardless of location. Niantic also plans to release its Reality Blending AR software by the time Pokémon Go Fest 2020 rolls around, which will allow a greater amount of interaction with Pokémon on screen in real life. The company plans to create more AR experiences that might not be entirely about gaming in the future as well, and also wants to implement Niantic Social into its other titles like Ingress and Harry Potter Wizards Unite.

Regarding the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative, the company has also stated that it will cover 1,000 businesses around the world, with a potential expansion in the works should the program be successful for local communities. More details will be released, but the company plans to work with smaller communities and will rely on the assistance of dedicated individuals who are passionate about improving the social experiences of their hometowns.

Our resident Pokémon Go trainer Kay will be roaring to go to the first ever virtual Pokémon Go Fest this year, and stay tuned for more news here on Gaming Trend.

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