It's summertime in Pokémon GO, and that means Niantic is once again moving hard to get the community engaged with the now two-year-old game. This year we're doing a sprawling, multi-part "global research challenge," where players will be asked to complete a certain number of research tasks in each of their respective regions in order to unlock prizes. There are three stages throughout the course of the summer, each with their own unlock reward at the end. At the end there's a tantalizing, mysterious "ultra bonus unlock" at the end of the whole thing.
Paul Tassi suspects that the ultra unlock might be Gen 4, or maybe a new mythic like Celebi. These are good guesses, and Gen 4 would definitely make a splash. I have a crazier theory, however, one that I think is an actual possibility. I think that the ultra unlock might not be in Pokémon GO at all. I think that the ultra unlock might be a reward in Harry Potter: Wizards Unite.
Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is Niantic's next game, a follow-up to Pokémon GO set in the Harry Potter universe. It's bound to be big, but like with most mobile games it doesn't have a specific release date. We assume, however, that it's going to come out in the Northern Hemisphere's summer: these are global games but Niantic is an American company, and Pokémon GO came out on July 17. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite is due out in 2018. It stands to reason that's going to happen before the leaves turn in the places where they do that.
When the game comes out, it's in Niantic's best interest to migrate players over from Pokémon GO. Yes, cannibalization will be a problem, but a new game is always a good opportunity, and it should be possible for players to switch between the two games, particularly if they're already a high enough level in Pokémon GO that they really only need to show up for new creatures or Legendaries. Any sort of incentive you can give for existing players to try out the new game gives it a betters shot.
Tying this to a global challenge seems like a particularly Niantic thing to do, and it would certainly make splash to drop the new title shortly--or directly--after Pokémon GO's summer festivities. It would also be sort of awkward to drop it before the end of this challenge and ask the player base to pick and choose. This might seem like a little much, but I don't think it's impossible.