It's just under a month until the one year anniversary of Pokémon Go, which began appearing on the iOS App Store in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand in early July of 2016. To celebrate the occasion, developer Niantic today revealed a few events coming to Pokémon trainers both inside of the game and outside, in the form of real-life Pokémon Go Festivals.
Starting off within the game, the Solstice Event will kick off next week on June 13 and feature Fire-type and Ice-type Pokémon prominently in the wild, increased XP bonuses for accurate Poké Ball throws, and Lucky Egg discounts in the shop. Further updates and events were left vague by Niantic, but the company said that trainers can look forward to a new update soon "focused on collaborative group gameplay."
Gyms will be temporarily disabled for a period of time to prepare for the Solstice Event, but the developer didn't specify when that will happen. Additionally, Niantic announced that its game has reached 750 million global downloads.
We’re celebrating two amazing milestones—Pokémon GO’s one-year anniversary and 750 million global downloads—and you’re invited to join in on the fun! Over the next few months, we’re hosting real-world and in-game events planned alongside some very exciting new features that will get you outside exploring the world with family and friends. Get ready for an action-packed couple of months!
Staying true to Pokémon Go's gameplay, Niantic also announced Pokémon Go Fest Chicago, which will encourage players to get outside and visit downtown Chicago's Grant Park on July 22 to participate in various Pokémon-themed activities. Tickets for the event, as well as more detailed information, will go live on June 19. Similar festivities will be held across Europe from June to September, as well as in Yokohama, Japan where a "Pikachu Outbreak" event will debut in August.
Earlier this week, Apple announced a new augmented reality developer platform called ARKit at its WWDC keynote, describing how the technology will generate more true-to-life AR interactions within games like Pokémon Go. At the Brilliant Minds conference in Stockholm this week (via Bloomberg), Niantic CEO John Hanke reinforced the idea that Apple's push into AR should not be taken lightly.
“I don’t think anyone should bet against Apple,” John Hanke said at the Brilliant Minds conference in Stockholm. "I personally think AR is going to be a really important next computing platform that can succeed the mobile phone. It’s a few years off."
According to Hanke, the new and ARKit-backed version of Pokémon Go will be released this fall. During WWDC, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering Craig Federighi presented ARKit and the Pokémon Go update enhancements coming soon, stating, "The Pokémon is so real, he's right there on the ground. As the ball bounces, it actually bounces right there in the real environment. It's AR like you've never seen it before."