Niantic Planning Real World Pokemon Character Launches


For Pokemon GO players eagerly waiting for new Pokemon characters, there is good news and bad. The good news is that we will be seeing new Pokemon characters but the bad news is that we are going to have to wait for a time first. Niantic Labs' Chief Executive Officer, John Hanke, explained to a TechCrunch Disrupt event that players will only be getting new characters once the company has finished the global rollout of the game. He also explained that he expected to be introducing new Pokemon GO characters at combination real world and gaming events rather than a simple game update. "The introduction of new Pokémon into the world, and having events where that might be showcased, those concepts go together really well… I think you can expect to see that happen in kind of a synchronized way going forward." In terms of what this means, John alludes that it is difficult organizing an event for 10,000 players but that the team are definitely planning official Pokemon GO events.

Niantic have held events for thousands of players in the past, such as Ingress, but are waiting for the Pokemon GO launch rush to subside. The Ingress game is still under development and Niantic are still supporting real world events, whilst they manage the issues associated with Pokemon GO. But the company has struggled to cope with massive demand for the Pokemon GO game: when it was released into the North American market, massive demand from players quickly utilized all of the Google Cloud Platform capacity that Niantic had reserved for its global launch. At the time, John emailed Google's Chief Executive Sundar Pichai asking him to "please send reinforcements." Following this email, Google were able to provide Niantic with additional server capacity – a process that was not completely streamlined nor smooth, but since then Pokemon GO server load has levelled out.

Pokemon GO has been a runaway success, capturing the attention of millions of players all over the world into those markets that the game has been released. Niantic still have further work to do here in order to release the title elsewhere in the world, but once this is done it's encouraging that the company are also planning to support the game in both the real world and with hosted events catering for thousands of players. At this juncture, we don't have a time horizon for when the game may be considered fully deployed around the world nor a heads up as to when the first Pokemon GO official meet may be arranged, but we will let you know as soon as we do.

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Senior Staff Writer

I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.

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