What to expect from Pokémon Go Fest 2020

Pokemon Go Fest Hero Image New
Pokemon Go Fest Hero Image New (Image credit: Niantic)

With numerous events around the world postponed or cancelled in response to the global pandemic, Trainers didn't have high hopes that the Pokémon Go Fest would even be happening this year. Niantic, however, has chosen to evolve this once exclusive event into a global, virtual event. All Trainers will have the option to purchase tickets for two days of Pokémon Go excitement. It will certainly look and feel a bit different than past Pokémon Go Fests, but Niantic seeks to preserve the spirit of this event: Pokémon fans coming together to celebrate their love for Pokémon and Pokémon Go. We, here at iMore, have everything you need to know to get the most out of this exciting new event.

What is Pokémon Go Fest?

Pokemon Go Fest Group (Image credit: Niantic)

The biggest event of the year for Pokémon Go, the Pokémon Go Fest is an annual celebration of all things Pokémon Go. First started in 2017 in Chicago, the Pokémon Go Fest was a real world gathering of players who worked together to complete challenges, catch Pokémon old and new, and celebrate their love for the game. Since then, every year Niantic has hosted this event. In 2019, Pokémon Go Fest expanded to include events in Dortmud and Yokohama, as well as Chicago.

Although attendees had access to unique Pokémon and rewards, these events have also included rewards for players who were not able to attend and have involved unlocking new Pokémon and features for the game going forward. For example, at the first Pokémon Go Fest, Lugia was revealed and introduced as the first Legendary Pokémon in the game.

Many had expressed their doubts that Pokémon Go Fest would even happen in 2020, but Niantic has opted to evolve this event into a global virtual event. On July 25 and 26, the Pokémon go Fest 2020 will be accessible to all players around the globe who purchase tickets. Tickets will be good for both days and the event is designed to be played in all regions, including those in which social distancing is still recommended.

How will Pokémon Go Fest 2020 work?

Pokemon Go Fest Key Art (Image credit: Niantic)

In order to host a virtual event around the globe, many aspects of the Pokémon Go Fest 2020 will be different from previous Pokémon Go Fests. The biggest change is that there is no cap on tickets. No need to wait in a virtual queue, or hope that you are chosen from a random drawing. Because there isn't a physical space dedicated for the event, there is not need to limit how many tickets are sold. In an effort to preserve the spirit of Pokémon Go Fest while also taking advantage of a much larger playing field, Niantic has given us some idea of what we can expect:


Tickets for Pokémon Go Fest 2020 will be $15 USD or your local equivalent. These tickets are good for both days and can be purchased beginning today, June 15, 2020 at 10 AM PST. This is a significant improvement from years past where tickets only covered one day and sold out in 15-30 minutes, with scalpers charging a small fortune afterward.

Niantic Social

A new feature coming first to Pokémon Go, Niantic Social will serve as a single place to see all of your Pokémon Go Friends. You will be able to see which friends are online and playing, as well as stats about your friends' play, such as kilometers walked. This feature will be expanded in the future to other Niantic games, as well as to include more features. Niantic Social will be especially useful for coordinating Raid parties using Raid Invitations.

Special Research

Beginning on day one, players will have access to a new Special Research. This story will only be available to players on the first day of the event. A different Special Research will be available for the second day that will tie into a big surprise Niantic has for players. We don't know what the theme of these Special Research tasks will be, nor which Pokémon will be featured. In past years Pokémon Go Fest has been used to introduce Legendary Pokémon Lugia, Articuno, Zapdos, and Moltres; and Mythical Pokémon Celebi and Jirachi, and Niantic has confirmed that this year will feature a Mythical Pokémon new to Pokémon Go. Niantic also confirmed it will be dropping some hints as we get closer to the event.

While the Special Research lines can only be claimed during Pokémon Go Fest, with each limited to one day, these Special Research stories do not expire. As long as you log in during each day, you can complete the Special Research at any time. Further, these Special Research tasks will not be tied to the Rotating Habitats.

Global Challenge Arena

Global Challenge Arena En (Image credit: Niantic)

Every hour throughout day one will feature a different global challenge for all ticket holders. If players complete the challenges, they will unlock a special bonus for the remainder of the hour. For example, players may be challenged to send 100,000 gifts to friends. If players are able to complete the challenge, they will be rewarded with Rare Candies in gifts. These challenges will be tied to the Rotating Habitats.

Rotating Habitats

While previous Pokémon Go Fests have featured a handful of Pokémon species, this year's Pokémon Go Fest promises to feature over 75 different Pokémon through wild spawns, Raids, and Special Research. This will largely be accomplished through rotating habitats. Every hour a new habitat will come into play featuring specific Pokémon species. Although Niantic has not announced which species will be featured, the themes for each habitat are Fire, Water, Grass, Battle, and Friendship. The five habitats will each be featured twice on day one.

Virtual Team Lounges

As much fun as catching regional exclusive Pokémon or various letters of Unown during previous Pokémon Go Fests was, the real magic was connecting with other players who all shared the same passion for the game. While such meetings wouldn't be safe in many regions right now, Niantic hass announced that virtual team loungues will be available. These virtual spaces will allow players from Teams Mystic, Valor, and Instinct to connect, talk about their love of Pokémon Go, and even take part in awesome giveaways.

Pokémon Go Fest t-shirts

Pokemon Go Fest 2020 T Shirt (Image credit: Niantic)

Whether you have a ticket to Pokémon Go Fest or not, anyone in the US can purchase a commemorative Pokémon Go Fest 2020 t-shirt from The Pokémon Center. This t-shirt will be available at a later date from the Japanese Pokémon Center store, as well. These shirts will be available for a limited time and while supplies last only.

Print at home kit

Pokemon Go Fest Print At Home (Image credit: Niantic)

Anyone who has been to a Niantic event can tell you just how amazing the decor and props set up throughout the parks are. Although Niantic cannot fly out to each player's town to set up these lifesize props, Trainers can download and print their own Pokémon Go themed decorations. One such item will be a gift box, designed as a 3D lifesize item. The Go Fest print at home kit is free to download for all players, but will only be available for a limited time.

Global Challenges before the event

Whether you have a ticket or not, in the weeks leading up to Pokémon Go Fest there will be three Timed Research Lines. Much like the Timed Research Lines featured in the Throwback Challenge Event, these weekly challenges will provide players around the globe with awesome rewards, and the more players who complete these Timed Research Lines, the more Pokémon species will be unlocked during Pokémon Go Fest 2020.

The future of live events in Pokémon Go

With multiple Community Day: Play at Home Edition events and now Pokémon Go Fest 2020, many players have begun to wonder if global events will be a part of Pokémon Go once the world has recovered from the pandemic. While live events have been a core part of Niantic games that the company does not wish to do away with entirely, player response to Pokémon Go Fest 2020 will influence planning for future events. So, if you absolutely love the accessibility of global live events, make sure to participate and share your thoughts on social media.


Do you have any questions about Pokémon Go Fest 2020? What are you most excited about? Drop us a comment below, and be sure to check out our Complete Pokédex, as well as our many Pokémon Go guides so you too can become a Pokémon Master!

Casian Holly

Casian Holly has been writing about gaming at iMore since 2019, but their real passion is Pokémon. From the games to the anime, cards and toys, they eat, sleep, and breathe all things Pokémon. You can check out their many Pokémon Go and Pokémon Sword and Shield guides and coverage here on iMore.