Feature

Nine Themed Holiday Events We Want For Pokémon Go

by Brian Shea on Nov 01, 2016 at 09:14 AM

The Halloween event for Pokémon Go is winding down, and by most accounts, it was a big success for Niantic and its popular app. The event, which ran most of last week and through the early part of this week, doubled candy acquisition through egg hatches and monster captures, and quadrupled the speed at which your buddy character found candy. In addition, "spooky" Pokémon like Gastly, Cubone, Meowth, Zubat, and Drowzee, as well as their evolved forms, were made much more common, giving players the chance to finally snatch a strong Gengar, or add Marowak to their Pokédex.

It also catapulted the app back to the top of the charts in the app stores, as it again overtook mainstays like Clash Royale, Game of War, and Candy Crush Saga. Because of this increased engagement (and revenue) during the event, it would be smart for Niantic to make a habit out of themed Pokémon Go events for other holidays. While the company hasn't announced its intentions for future events, we have some ideas for what Niantic could do as its juggernaut app continues to evolve.

Thanksgiving
When Pokémon Go launched in July, it focused on the original lineup of Pokémon as found in Red/Blue. However, several monsters are still unaccounted for. In addition to Mew, Mewtwo, and Ditto (oddly enough), the legendary birds Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres are all MIA. What better time to introduce this trio of birds into the game than with a holiday that for many centers on the consumption of a bird? In the core games, you only have one shot to catch these three birds, but that likely wouldn't be the best idea for a game like Pokémon Go. If Niantic does want there to be some kind of exclusivity with these three creatures, they could make it so you can only catch them during the week of Thanksgiving. Since many people travel or have long weekends, those who really want to catch them could likely have the chance to as long as the spawn rate isn't as low as some of the rarer creatures during this week.

Christmas/Hanukkah
The holiday season means different things for different people, but for many it includes the exchanging of gifts. That's why the holiday window in December would be a perfect time for Niantic to finally implement something players have wanted for a long time: trading. Since trading Pokémon seems contradictory to the developer's strategy of driving players to travel across the land, searching far and wide for monsters, I would imagine that trades within the game would consume some form of currency. Whether that's stardust, coins, candy, or some entirely new kind of trade-focused currency, Niantic should celebrate the holiday season by either gifting players enough to execute a few trades, or make trades cost less until after Christmas.

New Year's
With a new year should come new opportunities. For Pokémon Go, that should mean new creatures to catch. As the calendar turns over, Niantic should consider bringing the app into Gen II. That means 100 new Pokémon to catch and new types of Poké Balls. Some aspects of Gen II, such as egg hatching and new Pokémon types (like steel) are already in the game, so any event Niantic could throw would likely focus primarily on these new additions. For the first week of 2016, Niantic could make those new additions the only monsters that pop up to help trainers get a head start on filling in the new National Pokédex, or make the new Poké Ball types more common.

Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day puts a focus on partnership, so why not reflect that in the game itself? Niantic could make it so that all Pokémon spawn two at a time. While this might not be advantageous for creatures like Pidgey or Zubat, it would be great to have two shots at catching that Snorlax that randomly pops up three blocks from your house, or having two Dratinis to catch as you build up to your Dragonite. Taking cues from its Halloween event, Niantic could also focus on the candy aspect of Valentine's Day and put a multiplier on the candy you receive from your buddy Pokémon. Even if your human partner doesn't get you candy, at least your Pokémon partner will.

Ash Wednesday
Sure, it might be a bit of a stretch and not the most reverent use of timed events in the history of gaming, but the name is almost too perfect not to have something going on. The easy answer? Make the Pokémon that Ash has in the anime spawn more frequently. That would not only include the likes of his mainstays like Pikachu, Squirtle, Bulbasaur, and Pidgeotto, but also later, lesser utilized additions like Primeape, Muk, and Lapras. And no, I don't actually think Niantic is going to do something special for Ash Wednesday.

St. Patrick's Day
While there is much deeper meaning to St. Patrick's Day than celebrating Irish culture, the mainstream look at the holiday is just that. With the notion of luck on people's minds, Niantic could capitalize by making Lucky Eggs more common as drops, and rare hatches in eggs more common. Niantic could also shower players in green Pokémon if they want to go really basic. 

First Day of Spring
With the progression of the seasons into the warmer months, many seek to shed their storage spaces and clear out unneeded clutter. Niantic could encourage players to do the same in Pokémon Go by offering triple candy for Pokémon transferred to the professor and 100 stardust for every 10 of any item discarded. I'm at the point where I regularly clear out my Pokémon and lower tier items anyway, so it would be nice to get more (or in the case of items, anything) for my clearance. Either that, or Niantic could go the exact opposite route and provide players with more storage to build up clutter free of charge.

Lent
For Lent, Niantic should give up Pidgey, Weedle, Caterpie, Rattata, and Zubat. Seriously. We have enough of them. Instead, rotate other less common Pokémon in their places. Do three Pidgeys spawn at your office every hour? Maybe one hour you'll get Sandshrew, Diglett, and Voltorb instead of those three Pidgeys. It would definitely help players who aren't around an urban area feel like they can catch better creatures.

Easter
Every Easter, children wake up to hunt for eggs hidden all over their house. Obviously the direction of the themed event should focus on eggs, but there are a few different directions Niantic could take. The easiest one would be to make the eggs hatch faster by putting a multiplier on them much like the multiplier that was put on buddy Pokémon for the Halloween event. Another route Niantic could take would be to make all eggs that spawn, regardless of distance, act as a 10km egg. With 2km eggs producing the same monsters and candy as 10km eggs, you'd actually get upset when you get the 10km eggs during the event – an interesting twist. Both of those events would also encourage players to spend money on in-app coins so they could purchase more incubators, meaning the events would be lucrative for Niantic. If Niantic wanted to go a different route, however, I doubt any player would scoff at a few incubators being gifted to every player to help them hatch more eggs. Of course, unlike the other hypothetical Easter events, that wouldn't boost in-app purchases; it would only boost player engagement.

What holiday events would you like to see from Niantic?