Pokemon Go developer John Hanke gets hero’s welcome at Comic Con


The creator of the wildly popular Pokemon Go gaming app received the celebrity treatment on Sunday at the final day of San DIEGO’s annual Comic-Con, as he discussed the viral popularity and future of the game.

John Hanke, founder of Niantic Labs and developer of Pokemon Go, was welcomed with loud applause from more than 6,500 fans on a stage usually reserved for star-studded presentations from movie studios and TV networks.

Hanke said the global popularity of the game, which incorporates colorful animated creatures from Nintendo’s Pokemon universe into the real world using augmented reality (AR) and Google mapping technology, had been “mind-blowing.”

The game, released July 6, was evolved from an earlier Niantic Labs AR app game called Ingress, which Hanke said has also gained in popularity after the release of Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go has captivated fans around the world, with 21 million active US users in under two weeks of its launch. Stock prices for Nintendo soared after the game’s launch.

Here’s what Hanke revealed, in a conversation with host and Nerdist founder Chris Hardwick, as reported by ComicBook.com:

  • Sorry about the servers: Hanke told the San Diego crowd that Niantic’s servers “weren’t provisioned for what happened” and the hit that it became, and that the company’s engineers are working on keeping the servers up and reliable before they add new features. Similarly, Hanke also says they’re working on fixing things like the busted Pokémon radar system.
  • Rare Pokémon are coming: “There are some rare ones that haven’t showed up yet that will be showing up.” That’s important, given that only 145 out of the total 151 Pokémon have been accounted for by players worldwide.
  • Your team will be more important: Each Pokémon team — Team Instinct (Yellow), Team Valor (Red), and Team Mystic (Blue) — has one of the three Legendary Bird Pokémon associated with it, and that might play into which of those same birds players can catch. “They’re kinda aligned with the teams, and we might have something to announce about the teams soon,” says Hanke. Plus, the leaders of each time will start dispensing advice to players sooner rather than later, Hanke says.
  • Turning Pokéstops into Pokémon Centers: Hanke hints you’ll be able to turn some Pokéstops in the game into Pokémon Centers, where you can heal your Pokémon, in accordance with the original video games that Pokémon Go is based on.
  • Players haven’t found everything: Players of Pokémon Go have independently discovered that giving an Eevee the name of “Pyro,” “Rainer,” or “Sparky” will ensure that it evolves into Flareon, Vaporeon, or Jolteon, respectively. Hanke says there are plenty more little “easter eggs” like that which players haven’t found.

Hanke confirmed that Pokémon trading is coming to the game, which he had previously told Business Insider. Meanwhile, players are starting to hit the limits of what the game currently has to offer, as Brooklyn-based Nick Johnson has caught all 142 Pokémon currently available in the United States.

In a tweet after the San Diego Comic-Con event, the game’s official Twitter account revealed the characters who will be leading each of the three teams: