Blog
July 6, 2020
Celebrating Pokémon GO Fest: Look Closer with a new commercial directed by Rian Johnson

With Pokémon GO Fest 2020 barely three weeks away, we could not be more excited to host this all-new, first-of-its-kind virtual event for Trainers around the world. The response from the community has been incredible, and we’ve already sold more than 700,000 tickets from more than 110 countries and regions.

Our vision at Niantic has always been to create experiences that foster discovery and exploration within the real world. We are continuously inspired by the amazing stories Trainers from all walks of life have shared about discovering the magic and surprises around every corner of their very own neighborhoods and towns.

In collaboration with The Pokémon Company International, we teamed up with esteemed director Rian Johnson (Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Knives Out) to create a special new commercial that celebrates Pokémon GO Fest and honors the magic of Pokémon GO just in time for our fourth anniversary. Check it out!

“Pokémon GO has kept me engaged with my friends remotely as I've been practicing physical distancing these past few months,” said Rian Johnson. “As a longtime Pokémon trainer, it was a real pleasure working with Niantic on this spot. It was a new experience for me to direct a production remotely, and I enjoyed the highly collaborative process and think we put together a fun and upbeat commercial that fans will enjoy.”

A big fan of Pokémon GO himself, Rian helped shape the concept of the video with his cinematic eye and vision of peeling back a layer of our everyday lives, looking closer, and experiencing being a Trainer with your favorite Pokémon.

In keeping with the theme of bringing people around the world together for GO Fest, this commercial was a global production. Rian Johnson directed the cast and crew in New Zealand from Los Angeles, and he collaborated with teams from Niantic, The Pokémon Company International and agency staff in New York, Seattle, San Francisco, London, and Tokyo. The final product is a fun and energizing video from start to finish that symbolizes the joyful experience of playing Pokémon GO wherever you are.

We’re excited to bring Pokémon GO Fest to Trainers around the world this year wherever you are playing from. Incredible adventures await and we look forward to seeing everyone in the Pokémon GO Fest virtual team lounges on July 25 and 26!

—Veronica Saron, Product Marketing Manager, Pokémon GO

June 30, 2020
New Real-World Adventures Coming to the Niantic Platform

Niantic

Niantic Partners with Theatre Company Punchdrunk

Since 2012, we’ve embarked on real-world adventures with all of you. Ingress was our first experiment at bringing people and communities together in a real-world game woven from story elements, live events and real-world achievements. We asked ourselves back then–What if we weren’t just directing a character in a game? What if we could become part of the game itself and make the entire world our gameboard? We became Agents, then Trainers and later Wizards–creating memorable adventures with each other across the world. Today we are excited to announce the next evolution on our journey in partnership with Punchdrunk.

Over the years, Niantic explorers have made our games a regular part of their daily lives. Our unique form of real-world adventure gameplay includes live events–Ingress anomalies, Pokémon GO Fest and Safari Zones and Harry Potter: Wizards Unite Fan Festival–where our games come to life. They inspire our players to explore parks and cities to unlock fun experiences, exclusive gameplay and new friendships. While the ability to explore the outdoors together in familiar ways is currently challenged, we are hard at work building what’s next.

As we experiment with new forms of gaming on mobile and AR glasses, we are pushing notions of real-world gaming forward. Currently, we have more than 10 new games in development including prototypes for AR wearables, each with unique and innovative gameplay, centered around outdoor exploration, movement and social interaction.

One of the games we are excited to bring to market soon is CATAN – World Explorers. Powered by the Niantic Real World Platform in partnership with the CATAN team, this new game transforms neighborhoods, towns and cities across the globe into a giant game of CATAN, a classic board game loved by tens of millions of people around the world. CATAN – World Explorers will enter beta very soon, and you can visit catanworldexplorers.com to stay up to date.

Recently, we’ve asked ourselves: What if we were the lead characters in an epic adventure movie? Our new collaboration with Punchdrunk might be the answer.

Today, we’re thrilled to announce a multifaceted partnership with Punchdrunk, the pioneers of immersive theatre and creators of Sleep No More. Punchdrunk has placed audiences at the centre of their performances in the real world for 20 years, and are renowned for creating multi-sensory experiences on an epic scale. Together we are developing multiple projects that will reinvent storytelling for a 21st century audience and further expand the horizon of interactive entertainment.

Felix Barrett, Artistic Director of Punchdrunk said: “It is hugely exciting to be joining forces with the preeminent AR company in the world. At Punchdrunk we create richly cinematic 3D worlds where audiences can explore, touch and smell the environment; where the boundaries between reality and fantasy are indistinguishable. Those that have seen Sleep No More often liken the experience to how it might feel to walk into a video game. What happens if you take that sense of adventure into the real world? Tear down the walls and the world becomes your stage.

I believe that Punchdrunk and Niantic can create something that has never been done before. They do it in AR, we do it in real life. Collide the two and I think we will blow people's minds; bend the rules of genre and redefine the norms of mobile gaming.”

We look forward to moving real-world AR gaming forward through innovative partnerships.


—The Niantic team

June 15, 2020
Pokémon GO Fest 2020: A Summer of Adventure and Community Rebuilding

Niantic

A cornerstone of our mission at Niantic is to bring people together to form bonds that build community in the truest sense of the word. Creating a better and more equal society and rebuilding our economy is going to take leadership from both the public and private sectors, long-term commitment and a vast amount of hard work.

Our heartbeat is our community
Earlier this month, we shared how Niantic will support and stand together with the Black community. We’ll be donating a minimum of USD $5 million in proceeds from Pokémon GO Fest 2020 ticket sales with half being used to fund projects from Black AR creators and the other half going to U.S. non-profit organizations focusing on rebuilding local communities. We will have much more to share on these programs throughout the summer.

Niantic in 2020 and beyond
This year we’ve created a lot more features that expand on our core tenants of exploration, exercise and real-world social experiences. We’ve helped people play Niantic games from wherever they are, whether that’s taking a socially-distanced walk in a local neighborhood or playing as a family in a living room or backyard. Pokémon GO can play a role in contributing to a healthy body and mind by encouraging people to get outside and take a walk. In fact, Trainers have walked more than 28 billion kilometers and visited over 290 billion places while playing Pokémon GO. This is what guides us and drives us to create products and underlying AR technology that deliver on that mission for our players, day in and day out.

Niantic

Adventures this summer with Pokémon GO
Niantic live events have always been a key part of bringing our community together. From the early days of hosting several hundred Ingress Agents to the 2.7 million Trainers who have joined us at our Pokémon GO events around the world. It has always been remarkable to see our players come together, in-person, as one community.

As we look ahead toward summer 2020, we faced a complicated challenge that led us to fully reimagine Pokémon GO Fest and build it into a truly first-of-its-kind virtual experience in gaming.

Bringing the festival to you
While we can’t bring hundreds of thousands of people together in a local park, we can certainly recreate the spirit of what Pokémon GO Fest represents. We’ve designed this year’s event so Trainers around the world can go outside to play and celebrate the summer, and do so, of course, while practicing social distancing and being safe.

Pokémon GO Fest 2020 will be a full weekend event taking place on July 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. local time. While tickets to past Pokémon GO Fest events sold out quickly, this year they will be available to all Trainers. You can now purchase tickets in the in-app shop for the weekend-long celebration for USD$14.99 plus any applicable taxes and fees (or the equivalent in your local currency).

We’re introducing a lot of new gameplay concepts for Pokémon GO Fest 2020 to make it an exciting, interactive and social weekend for everyone participating.

One of the most challenging aspects of hosting a virtual event is figuring out how to connect people together despite their distance from one another. We’re excited to announce that this month, we’re rolling out a new beta feature called Niantic Social, coming first to Pokémon GO, which will serve as a single place to see which of your friends are online and playing Pokémon GO.

We’ll also be launching a Pokémon GO Fest Virtual Team Lounge which will be a way for Trainers to connect, participate in fun activities and giveaways, get a glimpse into the lives of Trainers from around the world, chat with the Niantic developers and get ongoing updates on the event.

Niantic

Another new element of Pokémon GO Fest 2020 is the new free Print at Home Kit that will help fans get ready to celebrate through a set of printable Pokémon GO Fest activities and decorations.

This new truly virtual Pokémon GO Fest will be another step forward in helping an incredible community of players from around the world come together. You can read more about the specifics of Pokémon GO Fest 2020 at the Pokémon GO Fest website.

Rebuilding our communities
As we look to the months ahead as parts of the world start to recover, we’re also thinking about how we can help safely reopen the outdoors and spark adventures again. We believe this starts by supporting small local businesses that are the backbone of our communities.

Today we’re introducing the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative, which gives the Pokémon GO community a chance to nominate their favorite local and small businesses to be among the 1,000 storefronts integrated into Pokémon GO for a year for free. We are seeking nominations for local businesses starting in the United States, Japan, Great Britain, Canada, and Mexico.

Once businesses are ready to open up in each region, they’ll be able to use our tools for in-game location to encourage people to safely explore nearby. You can find out more about the program and how to submit your favorite local business through the initiative website.

- Niantic team