'Pokemon GO' Anniversary Event Teased, Raid Battles Expanded To Lower Level Players

It's been nearly a year since developer Niantic unleashed Pokemon GO onto the world, and it shows no signs of slowing down. With over half a billion downloads and over 50 million monthly active users, Pokemon fans around the world have been taking to the streets to track down elusive creatures. Newly introduced 'Raids' now allow players to team up to take down more powerful Pokemon, and the in-game gyms have also received a major revamp.

Still, with the game's one year anniversary just around the corner, fans have been waiting for an announcement to explain just how the developers will be commemorating the special event. While Niantic has yet to shed any light on the matter, it seems like a handful of intrepid players have taken it upon themselves to unearth any hidden details.

As reported by Game Rant, Reddit users have managed to dig into some of the code included in Pokemon GO's latest update. While most of the update consists of minor fixes to bugs and other issues, dataminers uncovered one line of code, which reads "ONE_YEAR_ANNIVERSARY". With the one year anniversary taking place on July 6, the running theory is that the newest update will kick off something special on the day of.

While there aren't many other clues to go off of, one of the more popular theories is that Niantic will introduce a new version of Pikachu, the loveable rodent who serves as the official mascot for the franchise. A new short video, which released in Japanese cinemas not too long ago, depicts a Pikachu wearing series' protagonist Ash Ketchum's trademark hat, along with a silhouette of legendary Pokemon Ho-oh.

This wouldn't be the first time that Pikachu has received a special piece of headgear to commemorate a special event. In the past, Pikachu has been adorned with Santa hat to celebrate the winter holidays, as well as a party hat in honor of International Pokemon Day.

If you're new to Pokemon GO, and have been having trouble accessing the new raid battles, you'll be glad to know that Niantic have tweaked the entry requirements. Trainers at level five and above will now be able to give raid battles a go, though it's worth noting that lower level players will likely need to team up with other trainers to successfully complete raids.

Regardless of your skill level, all Pokemon GO should keep their eyes open for any special announcements, as we quickly approach the game's one year anniversary.

[Featured Image by Niantic]