Pokémon’s competitive circuit, now including Go, returns in 2022

The competitive Pokémon series known under the umbrella of “Play!” has been on an indefinite hiatus because of the pandemic, but now we finally have news that it will return with the new year.

On top of the news that Play! Pokémon will return, the circuit will now also include the Pokémon Go app. Up until now competitive events have been for the mainline videogames, trading card game (TCG) and Pokkén Tournament DX.

“For the first time, Pokémon GO players can take part in Play! Pokémon events with the very first official Pokémon GO Championship Series, held in partnership with Niantic. Qualifier events for the 2022 Pokémon GO World Championships will be held around the world at some Regional and International Championships. Players who place highly at these events can earn prize money as well as an invitation to compete at Worlds in London in August,” reads an announcement.

The world championship – or simply “Worlds” – have not happened for the past two years. For now the plan is for the event to happen in 2022 in London, as this is the real-world location that serves as the inspiration of the Galar region in Sword and Shield.

Exact details for how players can compete across the four gaming platforms will be provided as we get closer to 2022, but the big question is how safety of participants will be handled.

There’s a dedicated page for this on the Pokémon support website entitled “COVID-19 requirements“.

The important parts of the requirements include face masks for everyone attending, a 30 person limit for events (expanded to 60 for outdoor activities), a strong recommendation for sanitisation and a one metre distance between people not playing at any time.

The sole mention of vaccines or vaccinations is provided under the section about signage:

“Signs must be posted at each public entrance in clear view of your clientele. These signs must: [1] Advise individuals of the most recent known COVID-19 symptoms. [2] Ask symptomatic individuals to not enter the venue, regardless of their vaccination status,” the requirements page reads.

On top of rules set by Pokémon the local rules and laws around COVID-19 must of course be followed. With these changing so often it could be a big aministration problem for those running events.

While 2022 has been provided as the broad time of when these events will start again, no exact date has been provided right now.

All of this pertains to the world has a whole but what many South Africans may not realise is that the country had a decently-sized competitive scene before the pandemic happened.

South Africa is an officially recognised region for competitive play, but we’ll need to wait and see what the specifics for a local return of these events entail.


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