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Pokémon Go is five years old today – catch Flying Balloon Pikachu to celebrate

The pandemic hasn’t dented the appeal of Pokémon Go at all, as the app celebrates its most successful start to a year ever.

It’s the 40th anniversary of Mario and Donkey Kong this week, which still shows no sign of being acknowledged, but there’s another Nintendo adjacent birthday today, as Pokémon Go celebrates five years on mobile.

Despite being designed entirely around exploring outside, the app has only continued to flourish during lockdown, as changes were made to make it easier to play inside – changes which will be rolled back by the end of the year.

To celebrate the anniversary, this week sees the release of a flying Pikachu (he’s holding onto some birthday balloons), the return of shiny Meltan, and a new Collection Challenge. Oh, and the revelation that Pokémon Go has now generated $5 billion in revenues for Niantic and The Pokémon Company.

Nintendo only gets a relatively small cut of the money from Pokémon Go, although considering how cheaply made things like Pokémon Sword/Shield look it’s a mystery as to what The Pokémon Company is doing with the money.

According to data from Sensor Tower, Pokémon Go saw revenues increase by 41% in 2020, despite the pandemic, for a total of $1.3 billion. That’s not just a blip either, as 2021 has had the best first half of the year ever for the app.

In other words, although it may not make the news anymore, in the same way as it did at launch, Pokémon Go is more popular than ever, and only getting more so.

How to get Flying Balloon Pikachu in Pokémon Go

Pokémon Go’s anniversary celebrations started at 10am on Tuesday and will last until Thursday, July 15 at 8pm local time.

That means you’ve got just over a week to catch Flying Balloon Pikachu, who can be found in a number of ways. The simplest is just catching him in the wild, as he’s not rare and can be found fairly easily.

If you’re having trouble though he’s also a reward in 1-Star Raids this week (the others are Darumaka, Chespin, Fennekin, and Froakie) and Collection Challenges. Flying Balloon Pikachu isn’t meant to be hard to get so it shouldn’t require much effort on your part.

How to get Shiny Darumaka in Pokémon Go

Shiny Darumaka is also pretty easy to find and works in a similar manner to Flying Balloon Pikachu, in that it can be found fairly easily in the wild and is a reward in 1-Star Raids.

Because it’s a shiny pokémon it is harder to come across than regular types, but it still shouldn’t be that difficult as again it’s intended as an easy-to-catch anniversary gift for everyone.

How to get Shiny Meltan in Pokémon Go

Getting a Shiny Meltan requires a little more work, although technically all you need to do is activate a Mystery Box at some point between July 6 and 18.

You have to do it now though as the shiny form is not available at any other time of the year (unless there’s a special event), so it’s impossible to get hold of otherwise.

The Mystery Box requires the separate Pokémon Home app, which is used for storing captured pokémon in both Pokémon Go and the console games.

You’ll need to download the Pokémon Home app and then link it to your Pokémon Go app. Then transfer at least one pokémon and afterwards you’ll find a Mystery Box in your list of items.

You can claim a new Mystery Box once per week, and this week activating it will attract Shiny Meltan to your location for one hour – as if you’d used a special Meltan-only Incense.

The anniversary celebrations also include a number of other special events, including in-game fireworks, fifth anniversary stickers at Pokéstops, and the return of the Jump-Start Special Research for new players.

After the anniversary, the next big event for Pokémon Go is the annual summer Go Fest, which costs £4.99 and allows you to catch special regional pokémon, get a Pikachu rockstar or popstar costume, and catch various new shiny pokémon.

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