We’ve mentioned it before but now the Pokemon Go Battle League is finally here! It is being rolled out slowly based on Trainer level in order to ensure stability as the new system stretches its legs. It’s all starting with a preseason that will act a bit like a beta. During this time playing won’t be competitive but you will be helping to balance and optimize the Go Battle League. It will also give Niantic the opportunity to learn how the league is being used. This will help them determine the length of seasons, thresholds for ranks, and more.
The preseason will begin in the Great League then go to Ultra and finally the Master League. Leagues will rotate every two weeks. You will also be able to rank during the preseason, however, once Season 1 begins your rank will be partially reset. You will also still earn rewards. As you battle you’ll earn a large amount of stardust. How much is determined by your rank and how many of the five battles you win. You’ll also be able to earn important battle-related items like rare candy and TMs along with exclusive Pokemon Encounters. That includes Pikachu Libre. There will also be Pikachu Libre themed avatar items that you’ll be able to unlock.
Premium Raid Passes are turning into Premium Battle Passes. This will allow players to enter the premium track in Go Battle League. The premium track is even more rewarding than the normal track. Though it won’t help you increase your rank or rating any faster.
But, before you can do any battling you’re going to have to walk 5 kilometers to unlock a set of 5 online matches. Or if you’ve walked 2km you can instead purchase your way to battling with Pokecoins.
Have you ever wished you could be even better friends with your Pokemon buddy in Pokemon Go? Well if you have then you are in luck because the Pokemon Go Buddy Adventure Feature is coming soon. What is that? Well, I’m glad you asked.
With the Buddy Adventure feature, you will have an all-new way to interact with your Pokemon. You’ll be able to see your buddies out in the world on the map, actually walking, or flying by your side. When you have AR+ mode on you will be able to feed your buddies and interact with them like never before.
Click on me to make me bigger.
You will also be able to level up your friendship with your Pokemon buddy by doing a number of different things. They include walking together, playing together, battling together, visiting a new place and more.
Here are the perks for using the Buddy Adventure feature:
Good Buddy: Your buddy can join you on your map view! You’ll also see how your buddy feels on the buddy profile page.
Great Buddy: Having a hard time catching a Pokémon? Your buddy may help you out in Pokémon encounters! It can also bring you items that can help you in your Pokémon GO journey.
Ultra Buddy: Your buddy will help you explore the world around you by letting you know about interesting places nearby! Your buddy will also bring you Souvenirs, which you can keep track of on the buddy profile page.
Best Buddy: Become Best Buddies, and your buddy will sport a Best Buddy Ribbon to show off to everyone just how close you two are! Pokémon that you’re Best Buddies with can get a CP boost in combat as long as they’re still assigned as your Buddy Pokémon.
When you’ve reached the highest mood you can also unlock the following perks:
The distance it takes for your buddy to find Candy will be cut in half.
The number of hearts earned per action will double.
Trainers can earn bonus hearts!
Click on me to make me bigger
After the initial launch of Buddy Adventure Niantic is also introducing a shared AR+ mode. This will allow up to 3 players to take group photos of themselves together with their buddies.
There is a fantastic new dev blog post up on the official Pokemon Go site that talks about the design that went into the Buddy Adventure feature as well as some of the hardships. How DO you feed an Alolan Exeggutor? For the answer that we’re going to have to wait until the feature is released. We don’t know yet when that will be
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.
Was a Pokemon Go China release hinted at in a recent generation 5 poster? This is the question that is on everyone’s mind right now after someone on Reddit pointed out that the poster has the view of Exit B of the Grand Theatre Metro Station in Shenzen, China.
The Redditor, poiuytzxcvb included a map and images that compare the view from that spot with the poster which you can see below.
China is one of the few countries left in the world where Pokemon Go isn’t playable. This is because of its use of Google Maps which the Chinese government doesn’t allow to be used in the country. However, Tencent has been working with the Pokemon Company to get Pokemon games released in China, so it is very possible that Pokemon Go will be coming as well.
There’s only one problem with that idea.
Tencent owns Let’s Hunt Monsters, the China-only game that is just like Pokemon Go but without the massive IP behind it. Let’s Hunt Monsters just recently crossed the $50 million revenue mark and is Pokemon Go’s biggest competition in the world. Though at the moment they aren’t in competition with one another. It seems unlikely that Tencent would release someone else’s game that would be in direct competition with their own success. That’s not to say that Pokemon Go won’t be released in China, it just seems very unlikely that Tencent will be the ones doing it.
It’s also possible that the Niantic artist who created the poster just picked a random skyline that has a few eye-catching buildings and all this speculation is for nothing. But, that actually seems unlikely. We will continue to keep our eyes open and if a Chinese release of Pokemon Go is announced we’ll share that news as soon as we see it.
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.
In this week’s MMOGames Business Review we’re going to take a look at Pokemon Go’s biggest competition, Let’s Hunt Monsters. We also have a look at the mobile esports scene, a new location-based mobile game, and PUBG Mobile. What can we say, when it comes to business at the moment mobile gaming is the thing everyone is talking about while the rest of the world is WoW crazy.
Let’s Hunt Monsters is Pokemon Go’s Largest Competition
There have been many games that have tried to capture the success that Pokemon Go has had since it released in 2016. Games like Jurassic Park Alive, Ghostbusters World, The Walking Dead Our World, and Harry Potter Wizards Unite have all failed to make any significant move in that direction. But, there is one game that stands out above the others, Let’s Hunt Monsters.
Let’s Hunt Monsters is a monster-hunting AR game from Tencent that has only been released in China. It just recently crossed the $50 million mark in player spending on iOS. This is, of course, only 4% what Pokemon Go has grossed. But, it is more than double the amount of Jurassic Park Alive, the next highest-earning AR game. This is quite a remarkable feat for a game that isn’t based on a pre-existing IP and has only been released in one market while others have seen a global release.
It is important to note that Pokemon Go hasn’t been released in China yet, though there are plans for it to go forward. When it happens though it is expected to be done with Tencent’s rival NetEase. One of the complications Pokemon Go is facing in China is that Google Maps is banned in the country. Pokemon Go relies on Google Maps to function so as you can see, there’s a bit of a problem for Niantic.
Mobile Esports Games Poised to Overtake PC Competitors
According to a new report from Niko Partners, mobile esports games generated $15.3 billion last year compared to PC’s $16.1 billion. The report also states that China is overwhelmingly the largest market for both mobile and PC esports accounting for $5.6 billion and $6.4 billion respectively. It also points to League of Legends as the biggest PC esports game, having grossed $1.9 billion last year. This is down from $2.1 billion last year. On the mobile side of esports, it is Tencent’s Arena of Valor which is taking the lead. It grossed $2.5 billion last year, up from $2.4 billion in 2017. But, while mobile esports games are set to overtake PC there were 4 PC esports titles which generated over $1 billion last year in comparison to mobile which only had 2.
The report also suggests that there is going to be a shift from spectator focused tournaments towards more open regional tournaments. “Mobile esports tournaments will engage consumers not only as spectators but as participants,” said Niko Partners managing partner Lisa Hanson. “This will create mass market participation and engagement, growing a far larger audience for esports and generating new opportunities for revenue. We will see esports transition from fewer large tournaments to the addition of large numbers of smaller tournaments that are open to everyone who wants to compete.”
$1.75 Million Raised by Cerberus Interactive for Location-Based Games
Cerberus Interactive is working on a location-based strategy game which is said to be the first of its kind. It has grabbed the attention, and finances of the CEO of Reddit Steve Huffman and CBO of TikTok Blake Chandlee who were some of the lead investors in this round.
“We believe our marketing-driven approach to game design is a new way forward for mobile game development that has double fold benefits – players get features which are important to them, and studios are able to mitigate financial losses,” said Khan. “Premiere mobile titles require a great deal of capital, and with the funds raised thus far, we hope to not only pioneer a method that greatly reduces the risk involved, but also reshapes the mobile game development industry as a whole. We expect ‘Atlas Empires’ will be our proof of concept.”
Atlas Empires being developed in collaboration with fans and players. It democratizes the process to ensure they have a strong fanbase from development and going forward which is certainly a novel way to develop a game. Should it prove to be successful though it would be interesting to see it attempted in other games going forward.
PUBG Mobile Now Highest Grossing Mobile Battle Royale in the World
Revenue for PUBG mobile is up an amazing 748% year on year thanks to its release in China. After just 60 days China has become PUBG mobile’s highest-grossing market, accounting for 28% of everything the game has grossed to date. But, it isn’t just China that is contributing to PUBG Mobile’s success, in the United States revenue for the game rose 565% year on year from 4.8 million to 32 million monthly. It is important to note that these numbers for China only take into account the iOS version of the game, Android isn’t included, which means that in reality, the numbers are much higher.
Revenue for PUBG Mobile last month was 5 times higher than its closest competition in the genre, Fortnite and Knives Out. The game has spent 3 months now at number one globally amongst all mobile games according to SensorTower. Superdata however, who release a list of the top 10 grossing games for PC, Console, and Mobile, didn’t list PUBG Mobile in their recent list for July 2019. It’s always interesting to see how two different companies can come to different conclusions about a game’s revenue. It is possible that Superdata simply doesn’t have the information about PUBG Mobile to include them on the list, though this seems unlikely considering PUBG is on their list for PC. It may also be that because SensorTower’s data only includes iOS that they have come to completely different conclusions than Superdata who includes Android and iOS.
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.
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.