A Pokemon Go player dies in New Mexico after witnessing a robbery and being shot as she was trying to get away. 21-year-old Cayla Campos was driving with her boyfriend near midnight near Bianchetti Park in Albuquerque just before midnight when they witnessed a robbery taking place.
As she was trying to get away the robbers shot into her car, hitting her in the back of the neck. She then crashed her car into a nearby house. None of the news reports have mentioned the status of her boyfriend who hasn’t been identified, most likely for his own safety.
Right now the people who were involved in the robbery and shooting also haven’t been identified and they are still at large.
According to the rather morbid pokemongodeathtracker.com, there have been 18 deaths attributed to playing Pokemon Go and 60 injuries since July 10, 2016 when a fan was stabbed while playing the game. Of course, it isn’t the game itself that is dangerous but playing the game can put you in dangerous situations if you aren’t considerate of your surroundings. The game mechanics also encourage you to go outside just before midnight which is most likely why Cayla and her boyfriend were out so late to witness the robbery.
Our thoughts are with Cayla’s family and her boyfriend in this terrible time.
For the last few months in Pokemon Go Team Rocket has been waiting at Pokestops to start a fight with some of their Shadow Pokemon, but it appears that Team Rocket is about to start upping their game. A series of tweets from the Pokemon Go official account show profiles for three members of Team Rocket; Cliff, Arlo, and Sierra. Nothing else is really known about them at this point but there has been speculation that they’ll appear in the game as bosses.
It has also been theorized that Giovanni himself will make an appearance in the game. He appeared at Pokemon Go Fest in Japan earlier this year photobombing players. He has also now been spotted in a new loading screen that features Cliff, Arlo, and Sierra along with a bunch of Shadow Pokemon on the steps of a building that is at least inspired by the Viridian City Gym from the anime.
It would appear that they’re building up to something big on social media but when that will actually take place we will just have to wait and see. Until then there is still a lot to keep us occupied. Altered Forme Giratina is back in Raid Battles and will be appearing in the first few Wednesday evening raids in October. Another, currently unannounced Pokemon will be there for the last two. This month’s community day event is Trapinch, which is admittedly not all that exciting. But, Halloween is coming and we know from past experience that Pokemon Go will have an event for us to take part in. This in some way makes up for the fact that Flower Eevee is the reward for completing research again this month.
In case you need a bit of a refresher Niantic has been fighting an ongoing Pokemon Go lawsuit since 2016 brought about by a group of people who lived near locations in the game and felt the game created a public nuisance. Niantic denied these claims but has agreed to settle the case.
As part of the settlement, Niantic agreed to pay legal fees and a small stipend to each participant. They also agreed to roll out some new rules and policies for how Pokestops and Gyms are set up in residential areas and parks.
Anyone living within a 40-meter radius of a location in the game will be able to fill out a form on the Pokemon Go website to request its removal. Niantic is then obligated to address 95% of removal requests within 15 days and carry out the removal within 5 days of agreeing to the request.
Pokestops and Gyms in public parks will in the future be switched off outside the park’s hours. This means no more sneaking into parks after they’ve closed, which was at one time a very big issue for the game. Players will also be reminded when starting large raids to be respectful of their real-world surroundings. This sounds to me like we’ll be seeing a new popup when you enter a level 4 or 5 raid.
The next month is going to be a very busy one for Pokemon Go players thanks to the Pokemon Go Ultra Bonus Event which will be running until nearly the end of September. The Ultra Bonus Event will take place over three weeks, each week will have different things to keep an eye out for. It isn’t the only event taking place in the next month either. Here’s the full calendar of events starting from this Friday.
August 23-30 at 1 PM Pacific – Water Festival
Water-type Pokemon will appear more frequently in the Wild
Wartortle, Poliwhirl, Seaking, Lapras, Qwilfish, Mantine, Lotad, Feebas, Piplup, Buizel, and Finneon will appear more frequently in the wild near water
Water Type will hatch more frequently from eggs
Kingler and Crawdaunt will be able to learn Crabhammer
Shiny Carvanha and Shiny Barboach
Water Type will appear more frequently in raids
On Wednesday, August 28th from 6 PM to 7 PM local time You can encounter Uxie, Mesprit, or Azelf in raids in the respective regions
2x Hatch Candy
Water Type Buddies will have candy distance halved
September 2-9 at 1 PM Pacific – Johto Journey
A chance of hatching an Unown from a 10km egg, options are U, L, T, R, A.
Raikou, Entei, and Suicune will be in raids
Shiny Sentret and Shiny Gligar
2x Incubator Effectiveness
September 10-16 at 1 PM Pacific – Global Hatches
Regional Pokemon Farfetch’d, Kangaskhan, Mr. Mime, and Tauros will hatch from 7km eggs. There will be a chance for shiny versions of them all. This will continue through September 23rd.
All Deoxys forms will appear outside EX Raids for the first time
2x Incubator Effectiveness
September 15 at 11AM-2PM Local Time – Community Day, Turtwig
3x Catch Stardust
September 16-23 at 1 PM Pacific – A Unova Unveiling
Unova Region Pokemon will appear
Chance for Shiny Mewtwo
Mewtwo with Special Move Psystrike in Raids
Klink will appear in Raids
Chance for Shiny Klink
Shiny Patrat and Shiny Lillipup
2x Incubator Effectiveness
There is also a new Special Research available with 7 steps that will ultimately lead to catching Jirachi. These 7 steps aren’t easy and they’ll take a little while to get through. But with all this activity going on this might be the best time there has ever been to be a Pokemon Go player.
Pokemon has been one of my favorite fandoms for well over two-thirds of my life. I was only ten when the original Pokemon Red and Pokemon Blue were released and it was unlike anything I had ever played before. I was instantly hooked to the adventure, the mechanics, and the phenomenon that came from it. I vividly remember facing off against the horrible Team Rocket for the very first time at Mt. Moon. Eventually, I took them on at the Silph Co. building and their own hideout, then one last epic battle against their boss to take away the Earth Badge and head toward Victory Road. That’s why Team GO Rocket in the smash-hit mobile game, Pokemon Go, is such a fantastic entry for longtime fans of the franchise.
Prepare For Trouble, Make It Double!
For the uninitiated, Team Rocket, in the mainline games, is an evil organization hellbent on stealing Pokemon and causing havoc. Led by the devious gangster Giovanni, they cause trouble all in the name of more power and money. Giovanni, himself, is (during the events of the original games) the leader of the Viridian City Gym, making him the final Gym Leader before hitting up the Elite Four. It’s even alluded to that they had something to do with the creation of the genetic powerhouse, Mewtwo, which was confirmed in the anime and other media. Team Rocket became an iconic part of the Pokemon franchise and even my mom knows who they are, partially due to ten-year-old me playing the games all those years ago.
Pictured: Not Twerps, clearly. (Source: Pokemon Let’s Go! Pikachu and Eevee trailer, TPCi)
Unlike some of the evil organizations across Pokemon games, Rocket shows their ugly face more than once in the series. In the direct sequel games to the first generation, Pokemon Gold and Pokemon Silver featured them as the primary threat. There, they caused mass evolution of Magikarp, cut off Slowpoke tails to sell as a delicacy, and generally caused trouble on their path to find their missing leader. By the 7th Generation, Giovanni had figured out how to travel through the multiverse, where he collected alternate versions of other “Team” leaders that had defeated the protagonist in each of their respective dimensions. At that point, Team Rainbow Rocket was the post-game threat, which ended in Giovanni threatening to return yet again.
That’s where it left off and may have hinted at what came next, with Giovanni’s final words in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon, “Now…what new world shall I unleash my evil schemes upon…?”
Team Rocket Comes To Pokemon Go!
Let’s cut to the real world and the incredibly successful Pokemon Go mobile game. Catching Pokemon while traveling around the real world, battling, trading, and completing research quests is just usual fare. After three years of constant events, the very loose lore of the game sometimes throws the players a bone. This time, it all started at the “Pokemon GO Fest” in Dortmund, Germany. An ominous familiar black hot air balloon sporting a giant red “R” was seen during the event. Players and fans knew something bigger was coming.
Sure enough, they did. Lasting for a day initially, some Pokestops were discolored. Upon approaching them, they’d turn black instead of the usual blue and have that classic red “R” up top. Spinning it would do something new, however. Instead of just gaining a few new items and moving on, a Rocket Grunt would attack you, starting an actual battle. After the tough battle, the first Pokemon they’d have used was available to catch using premier balls, not unlike catching a raid Pokemon. But, something was off about these Pokemon. They emit a dark aura around them because they’re Shadow Pokemon!
Old School Fans Would Know Shadow Pokemon
Delving back a bit into the history of old Pokemon games, you’ll find Pokemon Colosseum and Pokemon XD: Gale of Darkness. During those games, the evil Team Cipher created a process that removes emotion from Pokemon to harness their fighting spirit. Players can catch Shadow Pokemon and “purify” them. Aside from a Shadow Mewtwo appearing in the Nintendo Wii U and Switch game, Pokken Tournament, this type of mechanic hasn’t really appeared outside the third generation era.
From the shadows, Dratini! (Source: Pokemon GO)
Of note, the Japanese version of Shadow Pokemon in prior entries is referred to as “Dark Pokemon.” Meanwhile, the Japanese version for Pokemon Go still refers to them as “Shadow” in the prefix. Anyone old enough to remember the original Team Rocket expansion of the Pokemon Trading Card Game will remember cards like “Dark Gyarados” and “Dark Raichu,” which can back up the thought process that “Dark” and “Shadow” are considered one in the same.
Team GO Rocket Blasts Off!
So, that event lasted all of a single day, going away in a flash. Within a few days, the dastardly Team Rocket was showing up in New York City for a big take over of Pokestops. After several hours, they were “defeated,” only to drop more hints at a more widespread take over set for two days later. They’re relentless! All of Pokemon Go’s Twitter and social media went into black out and Team Rocket took “control.” Giovanni stepped forward with a new team name: Team GO Rocket! He even alluded to his final line in Pokemon Ultra Sun and Pokemon Ultra Moon. They took control of all Pokestops for an hour on a set day. As quickly as they came, they were defeated yet again, with threats of a potential return. But, are they gone for good? Unlikely.
Pokestop right there! (Source: Pokemon Go)
Where Will This Lead?
Team GO Rocket Pokestops now have the in-game “Hero” medal tied to defeating them. It’s clear that Pokemon Go players now have a force to take head on. With the ability to purchase both Team Rocket and Team Rainbow Rocket’s attire for your avatar to wear, I wonder if we’ll have the ability to join them one day.
I recall the end of Nugget Bridge during the original Pokemon games, where the final opponent turned out to be a Rocket Grunt. He asks if you want to JOIN them! Maybe this is our chance! Probably not. But, in this world, who knows? Could we see the infamous Jessie and James hop to Pokemon Go? Will we get Slowpoke without tails as an event? Could we see Team GO Rainbow Rocket emerge eventually and have us face off against other notorious Team leaders? I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what Team GO Rocket and the Pokemon Go team has up their sleeves next.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite seems to be the game everyone spent the weekend signing up for but not the one they were spending money on. In the first 24 hours on both android and iOS combined it has been estimated that Harry Potter: Wizards Unite spending was just $300,000.
One can’t help but compare the launch of this game to its older brother Pokemon Go. In the first 24 for Pokemon Go the game had been downloaded 7.5 million times, versus 400,000 for Wizards Unite. It had also generated approximately $2 million in player spending. To make it even worse, Harry Potter: Wizards Unite actually released in more countries than Pokemon Go had at that point in its life.
Why are the numbers so low? Well…there are a few things that could be contributing to it. First, there’s the fact that Harry Potter doesn’t have the massive popularity that Pokemon does in Japan which is where Pokemon Go and Ingress both bring in a sizeable amount of their revenue. Having a game based on a Western IP isn’t instant money when you consider that in the Western audience players are less likely to spend money on mobile games.
There’s also the issue that current Pokemon Go players are less likely to play Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Mobile phones, and the games themselves aren’t really designed for you to switch between games easily. It’s far more likely that you’ll pick one game and stick with it. Unless you’re a HUGE Harry Potter fan you’re more likely to play the game you’ve been playing, so not picking up that new game.
Finally, it also has to be considered that Harry Potter is an older IP now and the last movie wasn’t very well received. It’s quite possible that a lot of people have moved on from the series and so aren’t interested in playing the game.
Whatever the reason we will be keeping an eye on how Harry Potter: Wizards Unite performs into the future and we’ll have a review of it ready to go very soon.
If you thought Niantic was going to let an opportunity like the release of a Pokemon movie go without mention then you may not be paying attention to the world of online gaming enough. Pokemon Go is Hosting a Detective Pikachu tie-in event to celebrate the release of the film. Starting tomorrow, Tuesday, May 7th and running until May 17th a number of different things will be taking place in Pokemon Go and for the sake of simplicity here they are listed below.
Double XP on All Pokemon Caught in the Wild
Increased Encounters with Prominent Pokemon from the Movie; Bulbasaur, Jigglypuff, Psyduck, Aipom, and Snubbull.
Detective Pikachu Photobomb in Snapshot Photos leading to being able to catch Detective Pikachu
Detective Pikachu Inspired Raids
Detective Pikachu Inspired Field Research
Detective Pikachu Themed Shirt
Detective Pikachu Themed Hat
As of the time of writing this, we don’t know any details like how often you’ll be able to catch Detective Pikachu, who will be in these raids, or what the field research will entail. We also know that there will be a chance to see a shiny Aipom in the wild. Sadly Ryan Reynolds won’t be voicing Pikachu. But it would be so cool if he did. While the event begins tomorrow if you want to see the movie you’ll have to wait until the end of the week, it releases in theaters on May 10th in most countries around the world.
Niantic, the creators of the massively popular Pokemon Go have started the slow release of their next location-based game, Harry Potter Wizards Unite in New Zealand. It is being called both a soft-launch and a beta, so it isn’t quite clear when the next rollout of the game will be, or where. Niantic has also warned that features, design, and the overall appearance of the game are all subject to change. The game may also be buggy and unstable at times.
You may be asking yourself what the difference is between Harry Potter Wizards Unite and Pokemon Go or even Ingress, the game Niantic made before they made Pokemon Go. Well, from the sounds of it there is going to be a bit more story, which is to say any really. The game has the same basic premise as Pokemon Go, go out into the world to find important items and people. But, according to Gamespot, it has a lot of similarities to a traditional RPG thanks to things like skill trees and potion brewing.
Android users around the world can currently pre-register for the game on Google Play. Also, if you’re an active Pokemon Go player you should have received an email from Niantic offering you the opportunity to reserve your username in Harry Potter Wizards Unite ahead of the launch so you’re guaranteed to have the same name in Pokemon Go and Harry Potter.
Hopefully, the release of Harry Potter Wizards Unite in New Zealand means that the game is very nearly ready for a global release. We’re in that sweet spot just before summer where the weather (for most of us at least) is getting warmer and being outside is preferable to being indoors.
Every time we talk about Pokemon Go Revenue we think that it can’t possibly get any higher, and then they go and prove us wrong. In January the game brought in $68 million in revenue, that’s a shocking 84% higher than January 2018. The largest chunk of that $68 million came from Japan, who accounted for 35% of the total revenue, that’s $23.8 million if you don’t want to do the math. The United States accounted for 29% of the game’s revenue in January. All of this meant that Pokemon Go was the number 10 grossing app globally and the 8th highest earning game. Last year in January 2018 it ranked 19 overall and 17 in games.
While we’ve been reporting on how well Pokemon Go has been performing year on year for a few months now things are going to slow down and not be as impressive anymore. That’s because 2018 was a year of a lot of changes for Pokemon Go. Changes that have resulted in them now making $68 million in a month. So the year on year difference isn’t going to be as big and impressive anymore as we catch up to the content releases. The changes they introduced to the game throughout 2018 slowly brought them up to where they are now. Still, $68 million in one month is incredibly impressive and it shows that Pokemon Go is off to a fantastic start this year. If they keep it up they’ll bring in $816 million before the year is over. Since the game launched in July 2016, the game has brought in more than $2.3 billion, though Superdata estimates that number to be over $3 billion. The monthly revenue information comes from a report from Sensor Tower using their Store Intelligence data.
A massive share of Nexon is for sale with some of the biggest names in the entertainment world taking an interest. Niantic has raised more funds to help them shape the future of Augmented Reality. Plus two different stories that involve lawsuits, including another one about Fortnite. Find all of that and more in this week’s look at online gaming’s business side.
Niantic Raises $245 Million in Funding
The makers of Pokemon Go are riding high right now as they just finished a round of funding that brought in $245 million for them to use on Niantic’s Real World Program. The funding will allow the company to bring on more staff for the AR project that aims to deliver “contextual computer vision” that will allow AR objects to understand and interact with objects in the real world. The funding brings Niantic’s total value up to nearly $4 billion.
The funding round was led by IVP who join the likes of aXiomatic Gaming, Battery Ventures, Causeway Media Partners, CRV, and Samsung Ventures who have already invested in Niantic. IVP Partner Sandy Miller had this to say about the funding, “IVP is excited to support Niantic in building the future of AR — initially as it delivers the magic of AR through highly popular games, but ultimately by delivering an operating system for applications that unite the digital world with the physical world. It’s a rare opportunity to partner up with a company that is already highly profitable at this stage, which is another reason we are so bullish on Niantic.”
NCSoft Layoffs Staff at North American Mobile Studio
A few years ago, NCSoft announced they were pulling away from the North American and Western audience to focus more on their home audience. Then after a year or two, they announced that North America and Europe would play a key role in the company going forward. Part of that announcement included a new mobile games studio in California: Iron Tiger Studios. This studio was to work on mobile ports of NCSoft’s games as well as making new games.
Now here we are at the start of 2019 and layoffs have been announced for the studio. It wasn’t made clear how many people were hit by the layoff, but an NCSoft representative did stress that the studio wouldn’t be closing. Also, the game they were developing would continue in the hands of another studio, though which one isn’t known yet leaving the fate of the game up in the air at the moment. From the sounds of it, Iron Tiger Studios will continue to create mobile ports of NCSoft games rather than working on their own projects.
When a 98.64% share in a company goes up for sale that effectively means the company is up for sale too, right? This is exactly what is happening with Nexon as the founder, Kim Jung-ju is selling his share of the company. This share is reportedly worth 9 billion dollars and it already has attracted a lot of attention from companies who are interested in buying it. Those companies include Activision, Disney, EA, and Tencent. There are also a number of US investment firms who are looking for US game companies to partner with to gather the funds needed for a bid.
An investment presentation session is planned for October in San Francisco in order to sell the shares. With $9 billion to be exchanged, it really isn’t a surprise that this is the sort of story that will take all year for us to see to completion. Whichever company does end up buying the shares will have quite an investment on their hands as Nexon has been having a great few years with their work in mobile gaming.
You may remember that back in June 2018 Bethesda and Behaviour Interactive along with Warner Bros. got into a legal dispute over the Westworld Mobile game that looked suspiciously like Fallout Shelter. Bethesda went so far as to call it a “blatant rip-off of Fallout Shelter.” In fact, it was so bad that they could point out specific bugs that existed in Fallout Shelter as well as the Westworld Mobile game.
After many months the copyright dispute was settled amicably, and in early January the companies involved put out a press release that was incredibly light on details. It only went so far as to say that the dispute was settled amicably and leaving every other detail out entirely. This, of course, left people wondering what the details of the agreement were and now it looks like we know.
The Westworld Mobile game is shutting down in April and it has already been removed from the App Store and Google Play. The dispute wasn’t mentioned in the announcement that the game was shutting down, but it isn’t very hard to put two and two together. Anyone who already has the game will be able to continue playing it until mid-April when the servers will be turned off for good.
Orange Shirt Kid Joins in the Lawsuits Against Fortnite
The mother of Fortnite superfan Orange Shirt Kid has joined the list of people who are suing Epic over dances used in Fortnite. In this particular case, Orange Shirt Kid’s dance, which he called The Random, was put into the game as part of a dance contest. Unlike the others, The Random, called Orange Justice in Fortnite was never sold. In fact, it was given away for free. It was also submitted as part of a contest that specified the winner wouldn’t be compensated and that the dance would be used for promotional material, which is pretty standard stuff for a game run competition. After the dance became popular though, Orange Shirt Kid became the target of extreme cyberbullying that eventually resulted in his YouTube and Instagram accounts being deleted. It should also be said that this lawsuit was filed by the same law firm behind the 2Milly, Alfonso Ribeiro, and Backpack Kid lawsuits against Fortnite.