Niantic has revealed the details of Pokémon GO Fest 2020 Fest, and its pricey ticket to enter will likely be viewed as way too expensive by many. Pokémon Go Fest is a yearly event that Niantic adds to their hit ARG mobile game Pokémon GO, which allows players to join in on global events and encounter pokémon in their own communities and around the world.
Historically, Pokémon GO Fest has been limited to certain cities across the world, requiring out-of-town players to have to travel if they wanted to participate. But, with coronavirus still forcing people to stay inside and way from others, Niantic have gotten creative in the efforts to keep players catching pokémon and spending money.
The latest instance of such creativity can be found nowhere else than Pokémon GO Fest 2020, itself. According to Niantic, this year players will be able to spend $14.99 on a ticket that grants them access to both days of the event, and it can be completely experienced from the comfort of players' homes (or wherever they want to play). The developer also pledges that half the proceeds from ticket purchases will go towards the Black Lives Matter movement, continuing their show of solidarity with BLM's cause. That's unquestionably a great cause, but it remains to be seen how many players will be willing to drop $15 to play a single event in a game that's normally
A Reddit thread discussing the event's details on r/TheSilphRoad is filled with skepticism about the execution of the event, given its relatively high price tag. Niantic has also incorporated a series of other changes to the in-game economy which have not been well received by players. The change to the in-game economy was seen by players as a way to squeeze money out of them via microtransactions, and now this year's Pokémon GO Fest is appearing to be subject to the same criticisms. While Pokémon GO Fest 2020 includes events such as hourly challenges, over 75 species of (presumably rare) pokémon, and a surprise event on the second day, players are unsure if the price tag is worth it, especially since Niantic have not disclosed what Pokémon specifically will be available during this event.
Niantic does sometimes listen to Pokémon GO players, but it doesn't always. Microtransactions have been a part of Pokémon GO since its launch back in 2016, and have included items to enhance gameplay experience such as lures, lucky eggs (for extra EXP), and extra incubators. However, there were other in-game purchases that players feel were necessary to continue playing, such as critical item and pokémon storage upgrades, which are clear-cut quality of life upgrades. These upgrades can only be purchased via the in-game store and are not available through other means, just like the Pokémon Go Fest 2020 tickets.
In addition to this, a big part of the Pokémon GO Fests have been the fact that players could actually go out into the world, walk around, and socialize while hunting for rare pokémon or completing the global tasks. That experience will be all but gone thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, so this year's Go Fest will be a hard sell for players, and that was without the $14.99 ticket price. Pokémon GO Fest 2020 starts on July 25, so players have until then to decide if they want to spend the money being asked without knowing exactly what Niantic has in store for them.