In December 2020, Niantic announced the arrival of Generation Six in Pokémon GO. It was a surprising move for some because these new Kalos region species were set to arrive in the game before a handful of remaining Unova species from Generation Five. However, after a small initial rollout, there have been no additional Kalos species added to the game, leaving some to wonder what happened to this rollout.
A lot is changing in Pokémon GO. In my opinion, this strange Kalos rollout is evidence that the way that Niantic releases generations is also changing in a major way. First, a brief look at major changes Niantic has made very recently to features that seemed like staples in Pokémon GO:
- Research Breakthroughs: We've seen these go from Legendary Pokémon to relatively common species.
- Community Day: In the past, we had an alternating pattern of starters then rare Pokémon, starter then rare, starter then rare. Every Community Day would also see the Shiny release of the focus species. Now, it seems Niantic is attempting to separate Community Day from both that pattern and the idea of it being a Shiny release event. We are now seeing seemingly random species like Machop, Roselia, and Magikarp given Community Days, while starters like Snivy get an unceremonious Shiny release during a low-key weekly event.
- Event pacing: Events themselves are getting shorter, with more of a focus on Collection Challenges and very short Timed Research rather than the in-depth Special Research and Timed Research we saw in the latter half of 2019 and first half of 2020. Niantic has also dramatically slowed down the release of Shiny Pokémon in events, with so far every event in February before the Pokémon GO Tour: Kanto and the last event in January lacking a new Shiny. The Team GO Rocket researches have gone from monthly to unpredictable and sporadic, with the last one offering encounters with common Pokémon and no Super Rocket Radar.
All of this is to say that Niantic has pumped the brakes on the pace of Pokémon GO. They are investing in the long-game in a major way, promoting Pokémon GO as a lifestyle rather than an event-driven, FOMO-fueled experience. That has both positive and negative results on the enjoyability of the gameplay, which is a whole different conversation, but it provides an answer regarding what happened to this Kalos rollout. It seems that, if this generation's release matches the major changes to the rest of their content, that it's not going to be like anything we've seen before. We won't see the huge, entire generation unveilings of the past, nor the "every month or so, here's a group of new species" like we did with Unova. Pokémon GO players should adjust to a new, slower pace for new content to the game, because that is what it feels like Niantic is doing.
Stay tuned, fellow trainers, for news on new Kalos drops. As soon as we hear anything, we're here to spread the word.