Almost five years on from its hugely successful launch, Pokemon Go is still going strong. The game has been downloaded more than a billion times and has generated well in excess of $3 billion in revenue, including almost $2 billion in 2020 alone. Not too shabby for a free to play mobile game.
Part of the reason for the game’s incredible success can be attributed to the tireless work of the team over at Niantic, who continues to add new features and content to the game through a series of regular updates. It has come a long way since 2016, but the developers still have big plans for the future; some of which will no doubt be realized in 2021.
The Current State Of Pokemon Go
Having started life with around 120 obtainable Pokemon, the game now boasts a roster of nearly 600. That number includes all 251 Pokemon from the Kanto and Johto regions and all but one of those that first appeared in Hoenn (Kecleon, for whatever reason, remains absent). 103 out of Sinnoh’s 107 Pokemon have also been added to the game, with Phione, Manaphy, Shaymin, and Arceus still waiting in the wings. From here, however, the Pokédex begins to show some rather large gaps.
Unova is currently missing 14 Pokemon while there are still 51 Kalos Pokemon that players are unable to obtain. The Galar region is by far the most under-represented, with only six Gen 8 Pokemon currently in Pokemon Go. This is perhaps unsurprising given that these are the newest Pokemon. It’s also worth noting that Galarian forms of Pokemon that are already in the game are also included, as too are Alolan forms.
Mega Evolution was added to the game in late 2020, although – as of the time of writing – there are only nine forms included, and Charizard accounts for two of them thanks to his X and Y variants. Considering that there are currently 48 different Mega Evolutions in the Pokemon universe, Niantic still has quite a long way to go in order to catch up with the main series on this front.
The addition of Mega Evolution also saw the introduction of Mega Raids; which, together with regular raids, gyms, and trainer battles, make up a big part of the current Pokemon Go experience. Given that defeating raid bosses remains one of the only ways to catch some of the game’s rarest Pokemon, this doesn’t seem likely to change anytime soon.
Confirmed Pokemon Go Events In 2021
The Pokemon Go Tour: Kanto event is the biggest on the horizon and is set to take place on February 20. Among other things, it will bring the first 150 Kanto Pokemon to both raids and encounters, which means the likes of Mewtwo and the three legendary birds will all be obtainable. Catching all 150 within seven days will also provide players with a selection of rewards while completing the event’s special research tasks will give them the chance to capture a Shiny Mew.
In a nice nod to the original releases, players will be given the choice between red and green versions of the event, which will determine the Pokemon they can encounter in the wild. For anyone not aware, the first two Pokemon games were released as Red and Green in Japan rather than Red and Blue.
As in those titles, Ekans, Oddish, Mankey, Growlithe, Scyther, and Electabuzz will be exclusive to the red version while the green version will instead feature Sandshrew, Vulpix, Meowth, Bellsprout, Magmar, and Pinsir. Additionally, certain Pokemon will have much higher encounter rates depending on which version of the game players choose.
Sadly, the event has a fairly steep price of admission with tickets coming in at $11.99. What’s more, players will not be able to use PokéCoins for their purchase, meaning that it’s cash or bust. For those who still have gaps in their Kanto Pokédex, this might be a worthwhile investment. Anybody who has been playing the game since launch though probably won’t find much value here.
Before all that begins, Niantic continues to roll out their special regional celebration events which each span the course of five days. Pokemon from specific regions have been programmed to appear at increased rates both in encounters and from 5KM eggs. There are also some special challenges and research tasks to complete and a handful of limited time Pokemon with special move sets available. The Unova Celebration Event has already come and gone, but there are several more coming throughout the month of January; the next one being Sinnoh.
- Unova Celebration Event (January 5 — January 10)
- Sinnoh Celebration Event (January 12 — January 17)
- Hoenn Celebration Event (January 19 — January 24)
- Johto Celebration Event (January 26 — January 31)
Mega Ampharos will also be appearing in Mega Raids from January 19; becoming the ninth Mega Pokemon to be added to the game following the additions of Mega Venasuar, Mega Charizard, Mega Blastoise, Mega Pidgeot, Mega Beedrill, Mega Gengar, Mega Houndoom, and Mega Abomasnow – all in late 2020. Beyond that, there’s currently little indication as to which Mega Evolution will be coming next.
The Future Of Pokemon Go
As of the moment, there are no confirmed events beyond Pokemon Go Tour: Kanto, although that’s not to say that the community is completely in the dark when it comes to the long-term future of the game. By looking at its current trajectory and how things currently stand, it is possible to get a pretty good idea of what the next 12 months might look like.
When it comes to new Pokemon, Niantic has been adding them at a rate of around 100 per year – a trend that could see Pokemon Go catch up with the mainline series as early as 2022. It seems likely that the developers will first look to fill in the gaps in the Hoenn and Sinnoh Pokédexes, which would involve adding Kecleon, Phione, Manaphy, Shaymin, and Arceus. From there, they’ll probably start to fill in some of the gaps in the Kalos and Unova regions while also dropping in the occasional Galar Pokemon.
On the Mega Evolution front, Pokemon from the first generation seem to have been prioritized thus far, with Mega Houndoom, Mega Abomasnow, and the soon to arrive Mega Ampharos being the only exceptions. If this trend continues, Alakazam, Kangaskhan, Pinsir, Gyarados, Aerodactly, and Mewtwo are all strong contenders to receive Mega Evolutionary forms in 2021, although the latter may be saved for a special event. Given that the game has averaged around two new Mega Evolutions per month since their introduction, users can probably expect at least 20 more to arrive over the coming year.
One thing that’s unlikely to be happening this year though is the once-annual Pokemon Go Fest; or any live Pokemon Go events, for that matter. With the pandemic showing no signs of abating anytime soon, it seems all but certain that the event will once again be cancelled in the interest of public safety. Community days are set to continue, however, with several already scheduled for early 2021.
Finally, a recent datamine suggests that egg transparency may soon be coming to the game. This could allow players to ascertain which Pokemon are available from eggs at any given time, although it’s unlikely that it will narrow it down to a single Pokemon. Of course, Niantic is yet to provide anything official on this feature and so it should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt for now.
NEXT: How To Transfer From Pokemon Go To Pokemon Home
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Tom spent the better part of a decade working in broadcast news before moving out to Japan in 2017. He loves adventure games and RPGs, but is also partial to a spot of FIFA from time to time.
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