Tag Archives: Pokémon GO

Starbucks is Now an Official Partner of Pokémon GO

Shortly after Niantic announced that Sprint had become the first U.S. Partner of Pokémon GO, Niantic announced that Starbucks is now an official partner of Pokémon GO. The partnership between Starbucks and Pokémon GO includes Starbucks stores that are located within the United States. Starbucks stores that are located outside of the United States do not appear to be part of this partnership. From the Niantic announcement:

Starbucks has a long-standing commitment to providing spaces for social interaction and real-world community building in its extensive network of locations. We appreciate their role in creating safe, welcoming locations for people from all walks of life to come together for refreshment and social engagement. Starting 11 A.M. PST on December 8, this new partnership will transform 7,800 company-owned Starbucks stores in the United States into PokéStops and Gyms, giving Trainers even more places to play and to engage with their local Pokémon GO communities.

Starbucks says that players who locate a Starbucks store within Pokémon GO will discover the Pokémon GO Frappuccino blended beverage.

It starts with a Vanilla Bean Frappuccino blended beverage and raspberry syrup blended with freeze-dried whole blackberries and topped with whipped cream. The Pokémon GO Frappuccino blended beverage will be available at participating Starbucks stores for a limited time while supplies last.

Sprint Becomes First U.S. Partner of Pokémon GO

pokemon-go-and-sprintThe Pokémon GO Team at Niantic has announced that they are working with Sprint.  This collaboration makes Sprint the first U.S. Partner of Pokémon GO.

Niantic and Sprint are working together to create a special Pokémon GO experience at over 10,500 Sprint locations around the United States. It is scheduled to begin on December 12, 2016.

As part of this collaboration, Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Sprint Radioshack stores will become PokéStops and Gyms, giving you even more places to stock up on Poké Balls and Razz Berries and to battle your friends. Sprint locations will also feature in-store charging stations to keep your Pokémon GO sessions going even longer.

Sprint will be offering an unlimited data plan that includes talk and text “so that customers can complete their Pokédex without worrying about running out of data or surprise overage charges”.  According to Sprint, when customers switch at least one line to Sprint and sign up for Unlimited Freedom with AutoPay, they get unlimited data, talk, and text at just $20 per month/line for a family of five until January 31, 2018.

Pokémon GO Adds Daily Bonuses

Pokemon Go logoNiantic announced some updates  to Pokémon GO that I think will make the game even more fun. These updates will appear in version 0.45.0 for Android and 1.15.0 for iOS. In short – they gave players more bonuses!

Players will now earn bonuses for the first Pokémon catch and the first PokéStop visit each day. The daily bonuses reward you with XP and Stardust for your first catch of the day, and XP and extra items for your first Photo Disc spin of the day at a PokéStop. You get an even bigger bonus if you complete those actions seven days in a row.

It appears that the daily bonuses are here to stay. To celebrate this new feature, Niantic is adding more bonuses to your bonuses. From November 7, 2016, through November 11, 2016, PokéStops will grant more items. This means more Great Balls and, for Players that are level 20 and above, more Ultra Balls.

If you are reading this today, there is still time to take advantage of the extra bonuses. If not, it looks like the “regular” daily bonuses will continue. Personally, I’m having fun with this.  The daily bonuses are giving me enough PokéBalls from the first PokéStop that I visit to make me able to immediately start catching Pokémon. That’s better than starting the game with no PokéBalls because I’d run out the last time I played.

Pokémon GO has a Halloween Treat

pokemon-go-halloweenI love it when video games include a special Halloween event! This year, Pokémon GO is doing something special for Halloween. It is the first time the game has done this. This makes me wonder if there will be more special events after the Halloween one is over.

Niantic announced a treat for Trainers. From October 26th to November 1st, players can earn double the amount of Candy every time they make a catch, hatch and transfer Pokémon. Play the game as you typically would – and get extra Candy while you play.

Now is a good time to start using a Buddy Pokémon (if you haven’t done that yet). Your Buddy Pokémon will help you earn Candy four times as fast during this Halloween event.

There is another treat to look forward to. Niantic says that players will encounter “more spooky Pokémon than usual” during the Halloween event. You could encounter Pokémon that you haven’t caught yet.

Pokémon GO Update Includes Catch Bonus

pokemon-catch-bonusNiantic has updated Pokémon GO to version 0.41.2 for Android and version 1.11.2 for iOS. It added a catch bonus, updated Gym training, and improved the egg and incubator screens.

The catch bonus makes those medals you have been earning into something useful. You can get a catch bonus when you earn medals based on catching certain types of Pokémon (such as Kindler, Psychic, Gardener, and others). The new bonuses will give you a better chance of capturing Pokémon with a related type.

The example Niantic gives is about the Kindler Medal. Reach a higher tier for the Kindler Medal, and your bonus to catch Fire-type Pokémon such as Charmander, Vulpix, and Ponyta increases.

Personally, I am looking forward to the catch bonus. I’m starting to get frustrated by how often the Pokémon I catch escape from the PokéBall and make me use more PokéBall to try and capture them. My hope is that the catch bonus will prevent the problem of running out of PokéBalls because I had to spend so many on each Pokémon.

Niantic says Pidgey is both Normal and Flying type. Catching Pidgeys will get you closer to the next tier on both of those Medals.

The change to Gym training is for players of all levels. You can now bring six Pokémon to battle at a friendly Gym (instead of being limited to bringing one Pokémon at a time. The CP of the Pokémon you are training against might be temporarily adjusted lower during your training session to match your Pokémon’s capabilities.

The egg and incubator screens will now periodically update the distance walked without the player having to close and reopen the screen. I noticed that the number of kilometers you need to walk to hatch an egg has stayed the same – but the number of kilometers that you have already walked are now blue (instead of black).  That makes it easier for me to differentiate between the two numbers.

Pokémon GO Plus Will Be Available Soon

Pokemon GO Plus
Niantic has posted an update on their blog that says that Nintendo and The Pokémon Company will release Pokémon GO Plus on September 16, 2016, in most countries. (It will be released in a few South American territories later this year).

Pokémon GO Plus is not a new version of, or an expansion of, Pokémon GO. Instead, it is a wearable device that players can use to play the game.

Pokémon GO Plus is a companion device that connects to your phone over Bluetooth Smart (the Bluetooth low energy connection designed for health and fitness applications), allowing you to keep your phone in your pocket and go about your day-to-day activities while still being able to collect valuable resources and capture even the most elusive Pokémon.

Niantic says that Pokémon GO Plus will “allow you to blend Pokémon GO more seamlessly into family and fitness activities.”. They point out that the wearable will let you go through your day, and play Pokémon GO, without having to look at your screen all the time.

The Pokémon GO Plus device will vibrate and light up to alert you to the location of a nearby PokéStop. Players can click the Pokémon GO Plus to collect items from the PokéStop. The device will also light up and vibrate if there is a Pokémon in your area. You can catch the Pokémon by using the Pokémon GO Plus, but you won’t know which Pokémon you caught until you look at the in-game journal later on.

The Pokémon GO Plus was first announced in September of 2015 when the Pokémon GO game was officially announced.

Niantic is Adding Buddy Pokémon

Pokemon Go logoNiantic continues to add new features to Pokémon GO. They recently released the Pokémon Appraisal feature, which gives players some advice about each of their Pokémon. Soon, players will get to choose a Buddy Pokémon.  Niantic says that the Buddy feature is “just around the corner”.

The next addition to Pokémon GO will be Buddy Pokémon. You will be able to pick your favorite Pokémon from your collection to become your buddy, opening up unique in-game rewards and experiences. Buddy Pokémon will appear alongside your Trainer avatar on your profile screen, adding helpful bonuses such as awarding Candy for walking together. You’ll also have the ability to change your Buddy Pokémon at any time.

Buddy Pokemon

Nothing more has been officially stated about exactly what Buddy Pokémon will do for the player. We can speculate a bit based on what we already know about how the game works. Right now, the Candy in the game is specific to one type of Pokémon and cannot be used on any other kind. Niantic says the Buddy Pokémon will give players Candy. Could the Candy from the Buddy Pokémon be used to evolve that Pokémon? We will have to wait and see.

City of Lompoc Wants to Change Name to “Lompokemon”

City of Lompoc California sealThe city of Lompoc is located in Santa Barbara County in California. There is an effort being made to change the city’s name from Lompoc to “Lompokemon”. This could be a brilliant way to encourage tourists to visit the city. It also could easily be the reason why the town gets laughed at as this story gets passed around the internet.

The name change from Lompoc to “Lompokemon” was a request that was on the agenda for the city’s most recent City Council meeting. The request was removed from the agenda at the last minute because the city wants to get permission from Nintendo to use the name “Lompokemon”.

They are asking Nintendo for permission, instead of Niantic, because Nintendo owns the trademark for Pokémon. The City Council is not going to move forward on anything until they receive approval to do so from Nintendo. If Nintendo approves of the “Lompokemon” name, the request for the name change would be brought back to the City Council (where it will either be approved of or refused).

As such, many things are unknown. It is not clear exactly how long Lompoc would be officially named “Lompokemon”. It could be for a weekend, or maybe for an entire week.

I suppose if the result of the name change is a huge boost in tourism, the new name could stick around until Pokémon GO loses popularity. Maybe they could put together a walking tour that takes people to all the PokéStops and PokéGyms. The city of Lompoc has a lot of murals – and public art tends to end up as PokéStops.

Niantic is Permanently Banning Pokémon GO Cheaters

Pokemon Go logoNiantic, the developer behind the popular Pokémon GO game, has started banning players who cheat. It appears that Niantic is very serious about this because they are now issuing permanent bans to the players who have broken the terms of service.

Earlier this month, Niantic posted an update about maintaining and running the Pokémon GO service. In the update, Niantic pointed out that third parties have attempted to access their servers in various ways outside of the game itself.  Part of that post said:

“It’s worth noting that some of the tools used to access servers to scrape data have also served as platforms for bots and cheating which negatively impact all Trainers. There is a range of motives here from blatant commercial ventures to enthusiastic fans but the negative impact on game resources is the same.”

It appears that the next step in their efforts to “provide a fair, fun, and legitimate game experience for everyone”, Niantic is permanently banning players who cheat. The company has posted a note to its website called: Submit a ban appeal.  It says:

Your account was permanently terminated for violations of the Pokémon GO Terms of Service. This includes, but is not limited to: falsifying your location, using emulators, modified or unofficial software and/or accessing Pokémon GO clients or backends in an unauthorized manner including through the use of third party software.

The post has a link to a form that banned players can use if they believe their account has been terminated in error. Some players who were caught cheating received an email that has the same wording as the note Niantic recently posted on their website.

4 Tips for Pokémon GO Safety and Success

Pokemon Go logoI’ve been playing Pokémon GO, the altered reality, mobile app-based game that’s taken (most of) the world by storm, almost since the game was first released in the United States. I’ve managed to reach level 17 so far, caught tons of Pokémon, and have had a lot of fun playing the game. Here are four tips for playing the game, based on my own experience:

1.) It’s OK to take your eyes off the screen: Pokémon GO naysayers have evoked a zombie meme when referring to players of the game. And while it’s not brains Pokémon GO players are after, there is something accurate about this portrayal, as players can sometimes be seen mindlessly making their way to a nearby PokéStop with little awareness of their surroundings. But it really is OK to take your eyes off the screen when hunting for Pokémon. Just make sure your device’s volume is turned up and/or the device’s vibrate function is on. Then you can hold the device at your side while walking. This may save precious battery life, as certain devices will automatically dim the screen when they’re put into this position, it’ll also free up your eyes to do what they’re supposed to – look forward into the world you’re moving thru.

2.) Stay out of the way of traffic: Of course you want to be sure to not wander into a multilane highway while playing Pokémon GO. But it’s not just vehicle traffic you want to avoid. You need to also be mindful of pedestrians, bicyclists, and other types of movement around you. So when the 100th Pidgey of the day pops up, take a few steps out of the way if you’re on a sidewalk, or duck into a nearby doorway instead of blocking traffic, before you try catching that Pokémon.

3.) It’s OK to trash things in your bag: I absolutely hate wasting resources in video games. And while Pokémon GO may have an inexhaustible supply of Zubats, the game doesn’t provide players with an Infinite Bag of Holding. Hit enough PokéStops and you’ll inevitably get the annoying “Your bag is full” message. At this point you’ll want to assess all of the items you’re carrying and jettison some of them in order to make room for more important stuff. But what’s “important” in the game will vary at any given time from player to player. If you’re not yet ready to battle at Poké Gyms, then having a bag full of potions is a waste. And if you’re more interested in gym battles than catching new Pokémon, you can drop Poké Balls in favor of healing and revive potions. And of course, if you don’t mind spending real-world money, you can always buy a bag upgrade. Still, I’ve found that keeping a balanced amount of potions and Poké Balls is possible as long as you don’t mind trashing extra potions or cutting back on the number of Razz Berries in your inventory.

4.) Treat the Pokédex as your true Pokémon collection: Pokémon GO has a few ways to keep track of the monsters you’ve encountered in the game. The first time you catch any Pokémon, it’s added to your Pokédex, where you can see statistics and other information about the Pokémon. All Pokémon catches are also noted in your journal. And finally, the Pokémon themselves are stored in your backpack. And while it might be tempting to hang onto every last Rattata and Nidoran, that could cause you to use all of your available storage slots rather quickly. Instead, consider the Pokédex to be the ultimate collection of Pokémon you’ve caught, keeping one or two of the highest-level of each Pokémon you’ve caught in your backpack and transferring the rest to Professor Willow for valuable Pokémon candy.

Are you playing Pokémon GO? Share your own tips and strategies in the comment section below.