For new characters, it's Pokémon Wait

Niantic's CEO says Pokémon Go players will see new Pokémon at big events in the future

People who are hoping to get their hands on some new Pokémon should be prepared to wait a while longer. John Hanke, the CEO of Niantic Labs, told an audience at TechCrunch Disrupt that players should expect to see new creatures arrive in the game at events that bring players together, but only after the company has finished its long global rollout.

"The introduction of new Pokémon into the world, and having events where that might be showcased, those concepts go together really well," he said. "So, I think you can expect to see that happen in kind of a synchronized way going forward." 

It's a move from the playbook that Niantic has developed running Ingress, the augmented reality game that it launched prior to Pokémon Go while it was a part of Google. Over the past several years, Niantic has hosted events for players of that game, which often host thousands of players. 

Those events help bring together the community of Ingress players for what Hanke calls "ComicCon meets a 5K." While the Ingress events continue, official Pokémon Go get-togethers are a bit further off. 

"Events will be part of our future. We're kind of waiting for the launch craziness to subside, and then [will] get to work and do the hard work of planning. Because it's hard to put together an event for 10,000 plus people." 

Hanke also shared a tidbit from the popular augmented reality game's launch. When Pokémon Go was released in the U.S., the game blew out all the Google Cloud Platform capacity Niantic had reserved for its eventual launch all around the world. So the game company's CEO called up an old colleague, Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

"We knew at that point that we were in trouble. And we were hanging on, and I put in an emergency email to Sundar, and said 'please send reinforcements.'"

The Google Cloud team came in to provide Pokémon Go with additional server capacity to help it weather the storm. While the load on Pokémon Go has leveled out since then, Hanke said Niantic is still working on getting the game launched in more countries. 

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Blair Hanley Frank

IDG News Service
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