Swimming with the Feebas: Limited Research Shiny Rates

Last weekend, travelers around the world experienced a new type of event for the first time: three hours of special research tasks and a chance to encounter an elusive shiny purple Feebas! Hundreds of Silph Researchers set out to determine the new shiny rate, even if that meant hatching dozens of eggs or landing countless great throws.


After completing nearly 3,500 research tasks in a controlled experiment, the Silph Research Group came to the conclusion that there were at least two distinct shiny rates during the event.

For the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, the combined rate seems to have been a still-challenging, but not impossible

1 in 20

with a 95% confidence interval of 1 in 16.1 to 1 in 24.3

However, for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India, the shiny rate was noticeably lower when compared to subsequent regions. While we were not able to reach an absolutely conclusive result, the rate was found to be approximately

1 in 40

with a 95% confidence interval of 1 in 32.6 to 1 in 63.8

It seems that Niantic listened to the feedback from the field, and increased the chances of discovering a shiny while the event was still active. Unfortunately, the update came too late to help the many players within the first event region.

The research group also decided to investigate whether there were any variations between different research task types or different hours of the event. Tracking so many variables was tricky in the middle of a short and frantic time frame, and consequently we didn’t gather enough data to draw firm conclusions.

Non-Guaranteed Pokestops

When the event began, it became clear almost immediately that in marked contrast to the shiny variant of sunglasses Squirtle, the same PokéStops did not guarantee a shiny Feebas for everyone. It also became evident that this event wasn’t intended to guarantee a shiny Feebas for all who participated; instead, serious effort and some very good luck was needed to get in the kilometers and encounters required to successfully complete the event tasks.

Results and Additional Survey

The following tables summarize all of the observations we have collected so far from the research group. As above, the 95% confidence intervals have been listed for all shiny rate calculations.

The primary source of data used in the analysis of this event was obtained from researchers participating in shiny-based studies (shiny researchers). These researchers are experienced when it comes to tracking shiny rates and eliminating reporting bias.

An additional internal survey was also conducted for researchers who are currently not participating in shiny-based studies (other researchers). This secondary data is more prone to bias such as reporting because of finding a shiny or out of frustration after a long period of not finding anything. In this case, however, the survey results do not vary wildly from the more controlled study, and give us a little bit more confidence that the Asia-Pacific region may have followed the same shiny rate as the Americas.

Europe, The Middle East, Africa and India:

total feebas shiny rate Confidence Interval
Shiny Researchers 1,555 36 1 in 43.2 32.6 to 63.8
Other Researchers 886 24 1 in 36.9 26.5 to 61

The Americas and Greenland:

total feebas shiny rate Confidence Interval
Shiny Researchers 1,329 74 1 in 17.9 14.7 to 23.1
Other Researchers 2,502 122 1 in 20.5 17.5 to 24.8


total feebas shiny rate Confidence Interval*
Shiny Researchers 374 14 1 in 26.7 17.6 to 114.1
Other Researchers 288 15 1 in 19.2 12.9 to 55

*There were not enough reports in the Asia-Pacific region to reach reliable confidence intervals.

Distribution of Tasks

A small number of researchers managed to track the total distribution of their completed research tasks and their rewards in an attempt to identify if tasks had any influence over shiny rate. Their results were as follows:

Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India The Americas and Greenland Asia-Pacific
task total shiny total shiny total shiny
Earn 1 Buddy Candy 43 1 115 5 25 1
Hatch 1 Egg 49 0 109 11 19 0
Make 10 Great Throws 86 0 178 15 50 1
Make 15 Nice Throws 62 1 186 7 45 0

Analyzing the above data resulted in a 0.20 value from a Pearson’s Chi-square test. While our dataset was too small to make any firm conclusions, there is no indication that different tasks had any influence over shiny rates.

The research group also attempted to collect data on the hour-on-hour shiny rates throughout the event. Unfortunately, researchers were not able to gather enough relevant observations to ascertain anything meaningful.

Parting words

All in all, this was an exciting new type of event. Admittedly, it didn’t go off without a hitch and was likely as much of a learning experience for Niantic as it was for the Silph Research Group. However, a lot of fun was had in the process, and everyone who participated got to collect some much-needed candy and some strong Feebas, on top of the enticing bonus of potentially finding an elusive shiny. Pokémon GO has always been about exploring new avenues in augmented reality gaming experiences, and Niantic appears to have heard the community’s feedback. Hopefully, the next time that similar events occur, they will be more accessible and rewarding for all.

In the meantime, remember that shiny Feebas is still available in the wild and from eggs, so if you did miss out on that special research task reward, all hope is not lost!

We at the Silph Research Group hope you enjoyed this little fishing expedition. See you on the Road, travelers!

– Scientists Ansku and WoodWose

Special thanks to Scientist Stealerhat who diligently kept researchers in the field informed of additional data collection requirements while the event was in progress, and also to Scientist Worms for their number wrangling efforts both during and after the event.