The first virtual Pokemon Go Fest 2020 drops for players around the world on the weekend of July 25-26.< --more-->
From 10AM PDT - which is 1PM Eastern, 6PM in the UK, and 7PM in Central Europe - Pokemon Go Fest 2020 tickets will be available from the in-app shop. They will cost $14.99, or your regional equivalent, and you can't pay with Pokecoins.
Niantic has said that there is unlimited capacity for this global event.
In previous years, Pokemon Go Fest has been an in-person event held in host cities ranging from Dortmund to Chicago and Yokohama, but the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has led Niantic to re-think its plans.
Over the last few months, Niantic has introduced a variety of measures - like remote raid passes - to keep Pokemon Go accessible to players with reduced ability to play. The virtual Pokemon Go Fest is an extension of this, and is the first event of its kind the game has seen.
For the price of the admission ticket, players will gain access to play on both days of the virtual Pokemon Go Fest from 10AM to 8PM in their local time.
The festival gameplay features a new storyline where players help Professor Willow track down a legendary Pokemon by completing a variety of challenges.
These challenges are informed by 5 rotating habitats that are based on the classic Pokemon elemental types: Fire, Water, and Grass, as well as things like "Battle" and “Friendship”.
Across the 5 habitats, virtual Fest players will be able to encounter 75 different unique Pokemon. Although no specific shinies or legendaries have been announced, the promotional material on Niantic’s website includes pictures of Pikachu, Oddish, Jigglypuff, and the sunshine form of Cherrim. While other images feature Zangoose, Seviper, Gible, Charizard, Chinchou, Snorlax, and Alolan Exeggutor.
During the event, habitats will change every hour. While a habitat is active, players globally will be able to contribute towards completing challenges which unlock bonuses for everyone for the remainder of that hour.
In a press briefing, Niantic said that Saturday July 25 will be more geared around the global community completing challenges together, while Sunday July 26 will feature more “surprises”.
To make up for not being able to meet other players in person, Niantic is also launching a Pokemon Go team lounge website with live updates and giveaways where players can interact with other people on their team.
Ninantic is donating its proceeds from the virtual Pokemon Go Fest ticket sales to causes supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, with a minimum commitment of $5 million. Half of the donation will be used to “fund new projects from Black gaming and AR creators that can live on the Niantic platform”, while the other half will be distributed to US-based non-profit organizations.