Scores of Pokemon GO gamers were disappointed when Niantic’s December update only included a handful of Gen 2 Pokemon only available via egg hatching, and a Santa hat Pikachu as the company’s way of celebrating the holiday season. And when the first few days of the current week (and a new update) came and went with no Pokemon GOChristmas event, many wondered if Niantic even has plans beyond unlocking a few “baby” Pokemon and a limited-edition holiday-themed Pikachu. Newly-sighted code suggests that the company will be having a special event like it did for Halloween and Thanksgiving, but chances are it won’t be the kind of event they’re expecting.
The release of Pokemon GO‘s December update was, for many players, a huge letdown. Prior to that update, SlashGear had reported on a slew of rumored features for that update and the expected Pokemon GO Christmas event slated for December, and as we now know, the Gen 2 Pokemon rumor didn’t turn out to be entirely accurate after all. Players only got seven Generation 2 creatures, all baby versions of existing ones, and in honor of Pikachu’s iconic status and the Christmas holidays, that character got a limited-edition version with a Santa hat. The arrival of the Legendary Birds was another rumored feature that didn’t make it on the December update.
As for the Christmas event, SlashGear said in the above report that Niantic would likely celebrate the Christmas holidays and recognize the difficulty of walking in winter weather by reducing distance requirements for buddy Pokemon to get candy. And what would a Pokemon GO Christmas event be without double XP and Stardust? Those were both features of the Halloween and Thanksgiving events, and the Halloween event had Pokemon such as Cubone, Gastly, Drowzee, and others become commonplace for the duration of the event. For the Christmas event, SlashGear noted that Snorlax, Seel, and Dewgong would be sighted far more frequently.
— Pokémon GO News (@PokemonGoNews) December 20, 2016
Earlier this week, Niantic rolled out a new Pokemon GO update, and that got a lot of gamers’ hopes up, due to the potential that the update would usher in the Christmas event. Based on the update’s change log, players had no such luck; BGR writes that the new update is mostly comprised of stability improvements and minor bug fixes, such as squashing the bug where users’ phones would vibrate even if no Pokemon had been sighted.
Indeed, there is a lot of worry in the festive air, as there are concerns that Niantic may be playing Scrooge by limiting the major holiday features to Santa Pikachu and the select Gen 2 Pokemon. But The Silph Road claims that there may be a Pokemon GO Christmas event in the horizon. The Inquisitr reported earlier this week on The Silph Road‘s “biggest” find – the imminent arrival of an Apple Watch version – but the latter site’s APK “mining” has revealed some details on a potential holiday event.
We’ve started transforming the 10,500 Sprint, Boost Mobile, and Sprint at Radioshack locations across the United States to PokéStops & Gyms pic.twitter.com/lXxuz2Wnyv
— Niantic (@NianticLabs) December 13, 2016
The first APK sighting noted was the presence of gift graphics, with each gift box tiered from Bronze (the most common) to Gold (the rarest), then tiered by Special/Great/Ultra variants. It’s not clear what would be inside these gift boxes, though. There was also a metadata attribute “HasHolidayItems” in relastion to the in-game shop, as well as a Christmas present-themed Shop button. This could all mean a variety of holiday presents being made available in the coming days.
“Our guess, though (and we’re truly grasping at straws – remember) is that there may be some holiday freebies showing up in pretty packages with bows sometime soon.”
That doesn’t say much, and there hasn’t been any definitive mention of double XP and Stardust, double candy rewards, reduced walking distances, and more frequent sightings for otherwise hard-to-find Pokemon. And Niantic has been playing it very cagey, not mentioning about a Pokemon GO Christmas event on its official Twitter account. But there have been some big finds indeed in the APK, and they make it very likely that the event will be pushing forward. The big unanswered question, however, is when.