Monday, November 29, 2021

Ed Sheeran is coming to Pokémon Go to serenade Squirtles in sunglasses

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Niantic has released details of Pokémon Go’s upcoming Ed Sheeran collaboration in a new blog post, a little over a day after first teasing the surprising crossover. The event kicks off on November 22nd at 2pm ET (11am PT), and will run for a little over a week until November 30th. The main feature appears to be a performance of some sort from Ed Sheeran, though what form this will take (a pre-recorded video? A virtual Ed avatar?) isn’t at all clear.

Niantic says the performance will include songs from Sheeran’s new album, titled = (yes, the name of the album is the equals sign), and that it’ll be accessible from the News section of Pokémon Go app. Right now, this section is just a news feed of announcements and blog posts, so this doesn’t offer much of a hint about what shape the performance will take.

With the event, Niantic appears to be attempting to follow in the footsteps of Epic Games, which has offered a number of in-game music events in Fortnite over the years from artists like Travis Scott and Ariana Grande. Epic has cited pop culture events like these as a key part of its attempt to expand Fortnite from a game into a metaverse-style social space, and Niantic hasn’t been shy about its own metaverse plans.

As well as Sheeran’s performance, the event will also include more typical Pokémon Go gameplay elements. A number of water-type Pokémon and the special sunglasses-wearing variety of Squirtle will be available to catch (“Ed always chooses the Water-type Pokémon as his first partner” you see), and there’ll also be a branded = sweatshirts you can equip your avatar with. Over the course of the week, Ed Sheeran’s song “Overpass Graffiti” will also play during the night in-game.

In-game events like these are big business for Niantic. This year’s Go Fest event, which took place in July, reportedly brought in around $21 million in revenue over the course of two days, according to analytics firm Sensor Tower, Eurogamer reported.





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