Summer is pretty much cancelled – or at least holidays abroad and mass gatherings – which means that the annual meetup for Pokémon GO fans, GO Fest, can’t happen as it has done in the past few years in Chicago.
And that means it’s going to happen virtually in 2020. We already knew this, of course, as it was announced a few weeks ago.
What we now know is a lot more about how GO Fest is going to work this year. With the venue being the entire world, there’s no limit on the number of tickets, so everyone can take part at home or wherever they happen to be.
How to buy a ticket for GO Fest 2020
One $14.99 ticket (£14.99) will let you take part on both Saturday and Sunday (25 & 26 July) for the duration of the event which runs from 10am-8pm in your local time zone.
If that sounds like a lot, it’s a lot cheaper than attending a normal GO Fest once you’ve factored in travel and accommodation. Plus, as a bonus the proceeds of all ticket sales are being donated to “support and stand together with the Black community through a variety of programs.” So you’re really donating towards a great cause.
Tickets are available to buy in the Pokémon GO app right now. Go to the store and you’ll see details.
GO Fest 2020 Timeline: What’s happening?
- 3 weeks of timed Special Research leading up to the event to unlock Pokémon during GO Fest
Day 1 – Saturday
- Special Research story available only on the Saturday
- Five hourly rotating habitats: fire, water, grass, battle & friendship
- Global Challenge Arena – one collaborative challenge per hour, giving a bonus for the rest of the hour
- Over 75 species of Pokémon available to catch in the wild, in raids and in Special Research tasks that you can complete any time during the day
Day 2 – Sunday
- Details of the Sunday will be kept until the day itself, and big surprises have been promised
- Will culminate in a Mythical Pokémon appearing: a silhouette of Victini has been teased
In a press briefing, Niantic didn’t reveal exactly which Pokémon would be appearing during the weekend, but from the images it looks like Gible, Unown, sleeping Snorlax and certain regionals will be among them. Let’s hope for increased shiny rates as in past years and the chance to catch regionals which haven’t yet been available worldwide such as Relicanth, Heracross and others. It confirmed that there will be no regional differences in terms of rewards in GO Fest this year: it will be a similar experience for everyone around the world.
In-game social features
Niantic Social is a new feature that will roll out in time for GO Fest and will let you see if your friends are online or not (so you can know whether you can invite them to battle, for example) as well as see other stats such as the number of kms they’ve walked. Niantic says it’s a way to help keep the community feel even though people are physically distant. Naturally, you can opt out of this and prevent friends from seeing whether you’re playing or not.
Social is coming to Pokémon GO first and will appear in other Niantic games. It’s a bare-bones set of features to start with, but this will be developed over time. There’s no way to message each other using the feature, so you’ll have to stick with WhatsApp / Discord or whatever method you currently use to communicate with friends.
Virtual team lounges
In the real-world GO Fest team lounges offer a place for Trainers from the same team to rest, chat and grab giveaways.
For 2020, these will be online on the GO Fest microsite, and there will be giveaways still – although Niantic hasn’t given any details about how this will work. Presumably they will be virtual giveaways, and potentially in-game items.
Print at home gift boxes and decorations
A unique feature of GO Fest 2020 will be decorations you can print off at home and place around your home to make it feel more festive.
Since there’s no venue to play at GO Fest, there can’t be physically different locations to catch different types of Pokémon, so this year the habitats will rotate by time (a bit like The Hunger Games). Each hour will feature a different type: fire, water, grass, battle & friendship and as the event runs for ten hours, it means each one will feature twice during the day.
Global Challenge Arena
All trainers will team up to complete in-game tasks themed to each habitat. As shown above, one is to send 100,000 gifts to friends. Once that’s complete, special bonuses will be awarded, such as rare candies in gifts. You’ll also earn badges in the game which show which ones you’ve completed, and you can see how your friends are progressing.
Niantic said that the reality blending feature – the enhanced AR which allows Pokémon to hide behind real-world objects will be live by GO Fest.
You can find out more about GO Fest 2020.
It also says that it will consider running GO Fest as a virtual event in following years if there’s a good response to it. And surely there will be: this will be the first time many players will have been able to take part.
Here are more tips on how to play Pokémon GO at home.