- Game developer Niantic and Pokémon Company International this week released a commercial to promote Pokémon Go Fest, the annual event that is virtual this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The companies have sold more than 700,000 tickets to fans of "Pokémon Go" from more than 110 countries, according to an announcement.
- The 30-second commercial, titled "Look Closer," highlights the hidden universe that people can discover by playing the location-based augmented reality (AR) game. Director Rian Johnson, who helmed the hit movies "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" and "Knives Out," created the spot.
- Pokémon Go Fest will include a social feature and digital hub for attendees to meet virtually. Tickets for the event, which takes place July 25-26, are available from the in-app shop for "Pokémon Go," per its website.
Niantic and Pokémon are working to build excitement for this month's Pokémon Go Fest with the new commercial from director Rian Johnson. The event for fans of "Pokémon Go" this year will be virtual for the first time, another sign of how the pandemic has disrupted live events. However, the reformatted gathering gives the companies a chance to sell an unlimited number of tickets to fans who haven't been able to attend past live events in person.
"Pokémon Go" has endured as a popular game with loyal fans who are willing to buy in-app content. The game has generated $3.6 billion in lifetime revenue since its introduction four years ago, with in-game spending rising 12% during the first six months of 2020 from the prior year, app analytics company Sensor Tower estimated this month. That growth was slower than the 19% gain in 2019 and 21% rise in 2018, a sign that the market for "Pokémon Go" is gradually maturing. The slower growth makes events like Pokémon Go Fest more significant in maintaining loyalty of the game's biggest fans.
"Pokémon Go" became a global hit with its unique gameplay that urged people to explore their physical surroundings instead of staying in place, though Niantic had to adapt the game for homebound players during the early days of pandemic lockdowns. The game developer in March prioritized updates that didn't require people to leave their homes or meet in person to participate in shared gaming sessions. The changes came as many people turned to mobile games for entertainment while stuck at home. Mobile gaming surged 24% in late March, with 45% of U.S. consumers saying they had played new games on their smartphones, mobile video advertising network AdColony found in a survey.