niantic

Pokemon Go kicks off Global Catch Challenge with 3B ‘mon goal

Live now in Pokemon Go as of this weekend is a pretty nutty challenge for players all over the globe, daring players to get out there and catch ’em all. In fact, the more you help the community, the more the community will be rewarded, with everything from a double-experience boost to special ‘mon unlocks depending on where you live. The whole shebang has a travel theme just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend here in the US, although you have only the 26th to hit three billion, so, you know, get playing!

Can it be done? Probably. Niantic hasn’t provided a countdown timer or anything resembling a progress bar, but the fans at The Silph Road put together a gorgeous infographic that better explains the event goals, and Pokemon Go Hub has a detailed breakdown of the math.

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Harry Potter ARG won’t drag down Pokemon Go’s development, Niantic says

Now that we’re all waving around sticks and shouting garbled Latin in preparation for Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, it is entirely possible that players in Niantic Labs’ other mobile ARGs might feel concerned that they are about to be benched in favor of the Boy Who Lived.

Not so, says Niantic Labs: “Just like many of you, we’re super excited about Harry Potter: Wizards Unite and are working hard with our partners at Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, and WB Games San Francisco’s development team to bring that to life. However, we — the Pokemon Go development team — want to say that we are 100% committed to creating an ever-changing and growing game that gets our players exploring, meeting each other, and deepening their connection to the Pokémon universe. We’re actively expanding the Pokemon Go development team to build many more amazing features in 2018.”

There’s potential in this game to be a smash hit: The Harry Potter franchise made $25 billion in 2016 alone, showing that its fandom is still alive and thriving. However, few specifics and no screenshots of the game have been revealed so far.

Wonder what we think of the Harry Potter: Wizards Unite announcement? Tune in to yesterday’s podcast or read our essay about the implications of a smartphone Wizarding World!

Source: Niantic Labs

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Divining the details of Harry Potter: Wizards Unite from a Pokemon Go player’s perspective

When we first heard rumors about a Harry Potter version of Pokemon Go, I said I could barely imagine what the game might be like before listing several other IPs that would translate better as AR games. It’s not that I don’t like the Harry Potter series (I do) or Niantic (someone’s got to push the envelope). My issue is that I can’t see how their respective styles could combine to create something great.

So I’ve gone back to some of my pre-POGO notes about Ingress and what would need to change before it went live and, well, Niantic clearly thinks differently than I do because this game is very much happening. I thought it might be useful to consider Niantic’s past and how it may affect its upcoming game Harry Potter: Wizards Unite. Let’s dig in.

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Niantic accios a Harry Potter mobile MMOARG

Like the idea of a mobile augmented reality game (ARG) but aren’t really keen on Pokémon? Niantic, the operator of Ingress and Pokémon Go, is branching out to include an additional franchise that should rope non-muggles into its community.

The company announced that it working with WB Games to make Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, set in J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. “Harry Potter: Wizards Unite uses state-of-the-art augmented reality technology to reveal the magic all around us,” the teaser site says. “Explore real-world neighbourhoods and cities to discover mysterious artifacts, learn to cast spells, and encounter legendary beasts and iconic characters along the way!”

Niantic CEO John Hanke said that this game will give fans of the series a real-world outlet for their passion: “The beloved Harry Potter stories have captured imaginations worldwide for more than 20 years, and soon we’ll turn the fantasy into augmented reality, allowing fans and their friends to become wizards and witches.”

Wizards Unite is one of several titles being developed by WB’s Portkey Games for mobile and console. More details about the game will be forthcoming in the new year.

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Pokemon Go’s Halloween event update is more than just candy

Recent Pokemon Go updates had been hinting at something big, and now finally we’ve got an official announcement from the team, and it’s big. Not, “another Pikachu with a hat” big (though we have another of those), but big enough that it could tempt people into returning to or starting the game.

Halloween and Generation 3+

Starting October 20 at noon PDT, players will be able to get double candy from walking/catching/hatching/transferring Pokemon, hatch/catch a Halloween inspired Pikachu, and get special store deals. Unlike other deals in the past, though, this one is offering super incubators (which help you hatch eggs faster) and raid passes, the game’s biggest money-makers. What kind discount remains to be seen, but the company’s been better about these packages since its anniversary failure.

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The Daily Grind: How should studios solve the gaming-while-rural problem?

If you’ve ever read any of MOP’s Andrew’s coverage of Pokemon Go, you’ve probably noticed a recurring theme: One of his biggest pet peeves is that Niantic privileges urban players over everyone else. If you live far away from a large city, you’ll not only struggle to attend events there; you’ll suffer from a lack of hotspots, gyms, raid opportunities, and other players on the daily, and you’ll have to drive between far-flung destinations just to play. A studio obviously can’t fix a population weakness, but it surely could work harder to stop making game opportunities and rewards effectively dependent on where you live.

The same problem’s apparently cropped up in Hearthstone as Blizzard has begun incentivizing what are essentially player-hosted LAN-party events with an ultra-rare Nemsy cards, ostensibly in the service of community. I plugged my current address in and came up with no less than six events over the next month within 20 miles of my home – triple that if I am willing to drive up to 100 miles. But I live in a large city (6M metro area) in the midst of even more large cities. If I plug in my address from back when I lived in New Mexico, there are no events within 100 miles of Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Zip. Nada. They don’t even make the top 50 list for metro areas in the US, but they’re the biggest for 300 miles in any direction where they are. And still nothing.

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Underdog Pokemon Go players took over the capital of Croatia

But it’s cool; they gave it back.

We’re talking, of course, about Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, which is apparently a flourishing Pokemon Go city with 420 gyms thanks to seeding years ago by Ingress players. A group of Croatian gamers were trying to conjure a way to persuade Niantic to switch a famous Croatian POGO trainer to the outnumbered Instinct faction when they hatched a plan to put together a massive 70-man raid to help the tiny team take over the whole city — that is, all 420 gyms — which necessitated crews of players and a fleet of cars to zip around the capital all day and all night in shifts. And they pulled it off.

“The biggest pride for us is that we managed to organize such a mission and did everything in it 100% legit play – not a single multiaccount was placed in a gym to make it stronger,” Redditor LekoZG writes. “Maybe we demolished all other gyms in the city, but what we built is far more valuable – a strong, positive and forward-looking community of players.”

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The MOP Up: PlayerUnknown’s Battleground and the fog of war (September 17, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from The Black DeathAstroneerOverwatch, Heroes of the StormTree of Life, War ThunderElder Scrolls OnlineHearthstoneWorlds AdriftArena of ValorPlayerUnknown’s BattlegroundsNeverwinterRagnarok MobileRappelzMaster X MasterSplatoon 2SkyforgeTravian, and Final Fantasy XI, all waiting for you after the break!

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Scientists say Pokemon Go helps relieve stress in Japanese workers

A new Japanese study in the acclaimed science journal Nature suggests that Pokemon Go players experienced a drop in “psychological distress” because of the game. The paper gives psychological distress a specific definition, but it’s easier to explain it as the amount of “vigor” someone has compared to depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

While the study had a control group of non-players and used a total sample size of 2,500 fully employed Japanese workers, at this point in the research game, I’ve started to become less impressed. While I’d love to sing praises of POGO, there’s a reason most people look at the game as a fad, and the research here only reinforced this. Let’s take a look at the study and what it really means.

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Niantic is releasing new Pokemon Go raids despite major bugs

Hot on the heels of its legendary bird raidsPokemon Go will have Generation 2’s legendary dogs as the game’s newest raids starting August 31st. As the dogs roamed the 2-D landscape 1999, they’ll now roam the world’s gyms, with each dog being a region exclusive for about 30 days before moving to a new territory.

Electric dog Raikou will be in the western hemisphere, fire dog Entei will roam Europe and Africa, and “why is this still weaker than Vaporeon?” water pup Suicune will be doggy paddling around Asia. For those thinking about jumping back into the game, Reddit user RyanoftheDay, who often creates infographs for the game, has already put together an image to help people prepare for the pups. In addition, EX Raids (formerly called “Exclusive Raids”) will be distributed to the public soon for events starting September 6th.

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The Walking Dead IP is getting a new augmented reality game, like Pokemon Go but maybe better

Next Games, the company behind The Walking Dead: No Man’s Land, recently announced an AR game based on the Walking Dead IP.

What’s interesting is that unlike Pokemon Go, the Walking Dead’s AR seems to be a key feature of gameplay, not an add-on, and it’s being marketed as such. Players will need to follow AR clues to find survivors and physically move around to find and combat zombies which may surround them. While that does seem highly engaging, I know I’ll have to worry about non-gamers reacting to AR weirdness in meat space, sort of like in Pokemon GO raiding situations in high-traffic areas.

In addition, comparing the demographics of The Walking Dead TV series to Pokemon GO player demographics reveals quite the overlap in terms of gender and age. Both have nearly equal appeal between the genders and primarily seem to attract people in their 20s and 30s. This means Niantic might actually have competition from another AR game based on a strong IP. It’ll be interesting to see how the community responds once The Walking Dead: Our World arrives.

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The MOP Up: Black Desert shows pet love (August 20, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

Maybe you’ll discover a new game in this space — or be reminded of an old favorite! This week we have stories and videos from NeverwinterElder Scrolls LegendsElite DangerousSWTORMapleStoryHyper UniverseSMITETravian OnlineDiablo IIIFigureheadsPokemon GoHeroes and GeneralsRappelzUltima OnlineSoulworker OnlineBlack Desert, and Gigantic, all waiting for you after the break!

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Pokemon Go’s Yokohama event was a huge improvement over the lawsuit-provoking trainwreck in Chicago

Just a month ago now, Pokemon Go’s Chicago festival was completely wrecked by connection issues that rendered the game an unplayable trainwreck for thousands of attendees, who booed studio representatives who climbed on-stage live to apologize. A Niantic spokesperson at the time admitted the team was “pretty horrified” about how it all went down, which didn’t stop the company from collecting almost $6M in sales on just one day of the event. It didn’t stop disgruntled ticket-holders from bringing a class-action lawsuit against Niantic in Illinois, either.

At the time, Massively OP’s POGO expert Andrew Ross argued that Niantic has repeatedly made amateur-hour mistakes in its handling of a globally massive IP over the last year — that Chicago was just one more.

So it may surprise you to know that in spite of the fact that players around the world are not thrilled about the game’s new raid mechanics, the event that heralded those mechanics — Pikachu Outbreak in Yokohama, Japan — hasn’t been a trainwreck at all.

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