Niantic has been releasing announcement after announcement leading up to their first-ever remote Pokémon GO Fest 2020. The event is replacing the originally planned, in-person GO Fest Chicago event where Pokémon GO players from around the world gather in one location for a celebration of the game, special spawns, an increased chance of encounters with shiny Pokémon, and an exclusive research line that culminates in catching a Mythical Pokémon. Now, with an in-person event of this magnitude out of the question, Niantic is attempting to make this virtual version as much like the original event as can be. After building hype with a Rian Johnson-directed trailer for GO Fest 2020, Niantic announced a series of plans to enrich the event, including print-at-home merch to replace what would have been available at the original location, worldwide in-game research that allows players to work toward unlocking special spawns at GO Fest, and even a collaboration with TikTok. Now, Niantic have rolled out a plan to make the lead-up and the actual event more immersive with a livestream counting down to the kickoff, as well as a Virtual Team Lounge.
In their pre-GO Fest 2020 announcement, Niantic wrote:
The in-app festivities aren't the only way we're bringing the event to you. Throughout the weekend, there will be exciting new ways to connect with your fellow Trainers. It'll be almost as if you were at an in-person Pokémon GO Fest with everyone! The Virtual Team Lounge is an online space that'll feature a ton of exclusive Pokémon GO Fest content and more! Similar to a Team Lounge at traditional Pokémon GO Fest events, this space will provide Trainers worldwide a place to chill in when they're taking a break from playing.
Enjoy exclusive Pokémon GO Fest video content and more! Rest your catching arm, and watch some videos together with your fellow Trainers. Stay in the loop with the latest event happenings: Check out what the Pokémon GO team and Trainers around the world are posting on social media about #PokemonGOFest2020—all without leaving the Virtual Team Lounge!
Notably, Niantic went on to announce an appearance from Rian Johnson himself. Beyond that, here is what Pokémon GO trainers can expect from the Virtual Team Lounge:
Pokémon GO Fest 2020 Global Kickoff: On Friday, July 24, 2020, at 2:00 p.m. PDT (GMT −7), join your fellow Trainers and start the festivities together with a kickoff keynote by John Hanke, founder and CEO of Niantic! The Makings of a Pokémon GO Fest: Ever wonder what it takes to make a Pokémon GO Fest event happen? Tune in and hear from Liz George, manager of community and social, and Laura Warner, senior game designer, to find out how we make the adventure happen.
Print at Home Kit: How to Build a Gift: Feeling crafty? Learn how to build a real-life Gift directly from the artist who created it, Craig Kitzmann! Download the Print at Home kit now to get ready.
Pokémon GO: Developer Insights: Hear from Matt Slemon, product lead for Pokémon GO, as he shares some insights and highlights of what's to come.
Getting Started in the GO Battle League: New to the GO Battle League? Fear not—we're here to help you build a team featuring Pokémon you'll encounter during Pokémon GO Fest.
Social Impact and Diversity: Learn all about what Niantic is doing in the realm of social impact and diversity.
Pokémon GO Fest 2020 Commercial Behind-the-Scenes: Filmed and directed remotely with team members in London, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tokyo, our Pokémon GO Fest commercial "Look Closer" was inspired by our global Trainer communities and relationships. In this behind-the-scenes segment, you can learn about how this commercial was made. Plus, you can look forward to an appearance from the director, Rian Johnson, himself!
On-the-GO Update!: Catch live event updates, and play Pokémon GO trivia for the chance to win prizes! This live segment will be occurring several times throughout the livestream. Avatar Fashion Show: Share a screenshot of your avatar's style using #PokemonGOFest2020 for a chance to be featured in this segment!
In addition to these segments and the major surprise of having Rian Johnson appear on the stream, Niantic will also feature events hosted by some of their sponsored content creators. The Pokémon GO community is strong on YouTube, which has led to Niantic pairing with many creators who vlog their gaming experiences and create video tutorials for their fellow trainers. Content creators who will be featured in these livestreams include YuriGames and ZoëTwoDots teaching trainers how to use GO Snapshot to create reality-bending photos with Pokémon, TrainerTips and Swaggron showcasing their skills in the GO Battle League, graphic designers CoupleofGaming keeping players up to date on the news rolling out of the event, and more. The Social Image and Diversity livestream may also be of note, considering that Niantic has committed to donating a minimum of $5,000,000 of GO Fest 2020 profit to fund projects from Black gaming and AR creators, along with a $100,000 donation to the Martha P. Johnson Institute.
GO Fest 2020 will begin this Saturday at 10AM local time. You can follow all coverage of the event here at Bleeding Cool.