After COVID-19 forced Pokémon Go to adopt a virtual format for its anniversary last year, Niantic is making up for the lost time. To celebrate Pokémon Go’s fifth anniversary, the company has an array of events and marketing tie-ins planned for trainers, including its two-day Pokémon GO Fest with Google Play as the official sponsor, a partnership with US Verizon stores, a new official TikTok channel and more.
To kick off the month-long celebration, Pokémon has teamed up with Verizon to turn stores across the US into PokéStops and Gyms, where trainers can unlock exclusive in-game content and get access to special events. These include limited edition giveaways and scheduled raids that give users a chance to catch legendary Pokémon.
Verizon is also giving trainers who visit stores an exclusive bundle of 2x Premium Raid Passes, 1x Lucky Egg, 1x Incense and 20x Poké Balls. Before heading over, trainers can check the Pokémon GO app to see if their local Verizon store is a Gym or PokéStop. Once inside, they’ll be directed to scan a QR code with their phone to register and receive the bundle. Trainers need not be Verizon customers to participate and can expect more information on raids to be released once per week until August 4.
Pokémon GO is also hosting GO Battle League Season 8, a global matching system that lets trainers battle each other around the world and earn rewards; the season will run through the end of August. Plus, all throughout the month of July, trainers can experience different Pokémon appearing in five-star raids.
The anniversary coincides with Pokémon GO’s foray into TikTok. Since the launch of the channel on June 25, the account has posted six videos and amassed about 97,000 followers and 333,000 likes. One video, which taps into TikTok’s viral ‘Tell me without telling me’ challenge, already received 4.5 million views and over 3,000 comments.
These events are all in preparation for Pokémon GO Fest 2021, taking place on July 17 and 18. Pokémon GO is treating users to a price slash in tickets, down from $15 to $5 for one ticket, which affords them access to both days of the event.
With Google Play as the official sponsor, Google Play members will get four times Google Play points on all purchases made in Pokémon GO, including tickets. Trainers using Android devices on Saturday, July 17 will also be eligible for an exclusive sponsored gift that will enhance their Pokémon GO Fest experience. Lastly, trainers in the US and Canada can purchase a branded T-shirt from pokemoncenter.com.
On day 1 of the event, Pokémon GO is bringing back themed hourly habitats from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., during which time trainers can catch certain Pokémon more frequently in the wild. In addition, trainers will get a free shirt avatar item and may be able to witness the debut of one of seven new Pokémon.
Day 1 of the festival will also feature a music component that lets trainers help Professor Willow and the team leaders throw a concert by choosing certain Pokémon to join the in-game event. Trainers can complete Special Research in exchange for special rewards. They’ll also have the chance to determine their in-game music, with new songs created by Pokémon music producer Junichi Masuda.
Also on Day 1, Pokémon Go is bringing back the global challenge arena, where fans can team up to complete a challenge each hour, which, if they complete in time, will earn them a bonus for the remainder of the hour. Ticket holders can complete four Collection Challenges.
Day 2 is dedicated to raids, where ticket holders will be able to earn an extra 10,000 XP in raid rewards after completing a Raid Battle, spin gym photo discs to earn up to 10 Raid Passes, complete timed research to earn eight Remote Raid Passes and pick up a free event bundle containing three remote raid passes.
This year also marks Pokémon’s 25th anniversary. To commemorate a quarter-century, Niantic is releasing another Pokemon mobile game called UNITE in September and two main-core games for the Nintendo Switch later this year, according to 9 to 5 Mac.