Polygon reports that Niantic, the development team behind Pokemon GO, is currently organizing a series of community events meant to play to the mobile game’s single biggest strength: its social aspect. The events are absolutely huge for Pokemon GO fanbase and image, as they will encourage people to get out and explore the better-kept secrets of the urban landscapes around them. Niantic is teaming up with the civic-engagement focused Knight Foundation to pull off this ambitious series of events that will make Pokemon GO players feel more like real trainers who are part of an organized Pokemon league.
“That’s a small thing, to discover a nook or cranny of your city,” Niantic CEO John Hanke told Fast Company this week in an interview about the social initiative. “But that small thing magnified by lots and lots of people is really significant.
“So we’re going to keep working on our side to cause that to happen more often.”
The first community event will take place in Charlotte, NC this Sunday. During the event, a series of streets in downtown Charlotte will be blocked off from traffic. For a day, Pokemon GO trainers will be able to walk the streets without worrying about cars while prospecting at the 16 Pokestops and two Gyms located in close proximity and marked on the event’s official town map.
IGN adds that there is also a global event going on this weekend dubbed “The Worldwide Bloom” which will make ordinarily rare grass-type Pokemon much easier to find. The event should have already begun at the time of this posting, and it provides even more incentive for Charlotte residents to join in the public event.
The social initiative in Charlotte is just the beginning of a huge line of Pokemon GO events, though, that may very well alter how the game is played. As they spread to other cities, they will hopefully become even more exciting and alluring.
“Over the next year,” Pokemon GO’s creators wrote on their blog, “Niantic will collaborate with civic leaders in several cities where Knight Foundation supports community engagement. The initiative will work to enhance these events featuring special content within their augmented reality mobile games, Ingress and Pokemon GO.”
The “special content” Niantic mentions might very well include legendary Pokemon. In the first-ever trailer for Pokemon GO, Niantic showed a huge crowd gathering in New York City’s Times Square, where they worked together to capture a Mewtwo. Pokemon GO fans would surely like to see this social campaign go in the direction of making that scenario a reality.
These “officially sponsored block parties,” as Forbes calls them, are part of a massive push by Niantic to reestablish Pokemon GO as a big name in the social sphere in time for Summer. As the Inquisitr reflected recently, Niantic realizes that one of the main reasons the launch of Pokemon GO was as monstrously successful as it was was that it was during the time of year when people were looking to get outside and socialize with friends. Pokemon GO played into that need, and it is aiming to do it again this Summer.
“The goal this year is to do public events this summer,” Pokemon GO senior game designer Tatsuo Nomura said at Game Developers Conference in March. “Part of what accelerated [Pokemon GO] is that it came out in the midst of a beautiful summer, and that seemed to be a good chunk of the magic for accelerating that game.”
With the series of community events, Niantic hopes to engage people socially on a level Pokemon GO has never been able to before.
The full list of cities to host Pokemon GO’s social events has not been released yet, but we’ll let you know as soon as it is.
For now, what kind of events do you envision going over particularly well as part of the series?
[Featured Image by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images]