Bleeding Cool covers Pokémon GO and Pokémon TCG content quite a bit. As a result, sometimes the Pokémon Company and Niantic reaches out with content that I'll unbox and review for the site. What I was sent for GO Fest 2021, though, left me wondering about the future of live, in-person events happening in the game… and I don't even mean the distant future. You see, Niantic sent a letter that outright confirms such events happening in 2021. Let's get into it.
First up, let me just pause to say thanks to Niantic for this. When I cover Pokémon GO content, I do so as someone who has been playing the game long before I wrote about the game. I love this game, truly, and as a fan of it who spends… a lot of time on it, it can frustrate me quite a bit when it doesn't live up to its towering potential. As part of my job reviewing the game's events, I often write about how the game can do better. Niantic's gesture to reach out to press, even when the press can be critical, shows the company's interest in making the game the best it can be. As a player, I love that.
Now, the letter. I'm going to highlight a few parts of what Founder and CEO John Hanke wrote, skipping around here and there. About mid-way through, Hanke writes:
What makes Pokémon GO Fest so special and fun is meeting up with other Trainers in person and playing together. We're so excited to help foster those experiences once again with the special celebrations taking place in cities around the world where it is safe to meet up outdoors…
The letter is heavy on this "get outdoors" focus. It goes on to add:
Wherever you are, I hope you can get outside and create memorable adventures in the real world with friends, family, colleagues, and fellow Trainers.
Then, finally, Hanke ends with what I read as a major reveal. I'm not really seeing this spoken about, but this is big. He says:
Maybe I'll even run into you in-person at this year's Pokémon GO Fest, or at our other live events taking place this year.
And there it is. "Our other live events taking place this year." While there is no clarification on what that means, I interpret that as a clear confirmation of more in-person events in 2021 post-GO Fest.
…Are we about to get a Safari Zone announcement? Or maybe a Pokémon GO Tour: Johto? Whatever happens, this letter sent to the press and influencers seems not only a warm welcome, which is appreciated but also a big first step in marketing what feels like an upcoming big move from Niantic.