This evening Starbucks employees around the United States spotted a promo announcement posted in the Starbucks back room that alleges "new Pokemon" are on the way! The rumored Starbucks Pokemon GO promotion appears to be all set to begin this week.
Here's what we know:
Beginning December 8 (Thursday in the United States) Starbucks will begin a promotion with Niantic Inc. and The Pokemon Company International to:
1. Convert Almost All Company-Operated US Starbucks Locations into
PokeStops or Even New
This may either be a temporary conversion, as has been observed in past Ingress' promotions, or could be a permanent expansion of the
Gym network. Regardless, it will benefit those in areas with the new
Nearby tracker - the more PokeStops the better!
Some Starbucks locations will not qualify to become PokeStops (possibly due to being too near existing PokeStops or liability reasons).
2. Coincide with 'New Pokemon' In-Game
This phrasing in the leaked internal promo document, does not reveal whether the next 100 Pokemon (Gen 2) will be launched, or perhaps some other new Pokemon - e.g. Gen 1 legendaries, shiny variants, etc. It seems most likely in our opinion, though, that this might be the launch event for Gen 2 around the world.
3. Offer a Pokemon-themed Frappuccino
It appears that visiting the sponsored
PokeStop will "unlock" a themed Starbucks drink, made with vanilla, blackberries, and raspberries!
Is Generation Two Coming?
Client-side code is already included in the current version of the app for all 100 of the next Pokemon (this was discovered on Nov 7 in our APK mine).
This means that Niantic could hypothetically roll out the new species with a server-side-only change and begin spawning the new species without the need for an app update.
However, this would only allow the new species to use the 137 existing moves. So if all 100 of the new species were given moves from the existing move pool, Niantic is able to launch Gen 2 any moment. If, however, new moves are coming for the new species, then a client-side app update will be required between now and the promo event. We'll have to wait and see whether an app update begins to roll out in the next 24 hours!
Finally, the leaked event information does not explicitly mention that the "new Pokemon" will begin populating the game at the start of the event. New Pokemon may come after the event has officially begun at Starbucks, for example after the
Gyms are in place for a period. Time will tell.
Niantic has rolled out client-side updates reliably every two weeks for the past months. This past week, we did not see a client-side update. Instead the
Nearby tracker geo-fence expanded and
Prestige system was rebalanced. While both were significant changes to the game, it would not be unexpected to see a client-side update roll out this week, in our opinion.
For now, travelers, we await official confirmation of the promo, a potential client-side update, and ... "new Pokemon!"