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Use the GDC 2021 Session Viewer to browse and sort the ever-growing list of sessions by day, time, pass type, topic, and format. All registered attendees will be able to build their personal schedule directly within the event platform, once live early July 2021. All times are listed in Pacific Time.

Online Game Technology Summit: 'Pokémon GoFest 2020': Global Challenge Arena

James Prompanya  (Staff Software Engineer & Technical Lead Manager, Niantic)

Date: Monday, July 19

Time: 1:20pm - 1:50pm

Pass Type: All Access Pass, Summits Pass

Topic: Programming

Format: Session

Vault Recording: Video

Audience Level: N/A: I prefer to present live on-site but I am open to delivering a virtual presentation

Go Fest is Pokémon Go's opportunity every year to celebrate what makes the game unique and special to their most ardent fans. Tens of thousands would travel from across the globe to meet with influencers, catch rare Pokémon, and be amongst the community that makes it the most popular augmented reality mobile game in the world. 2020 would have to be different. Learn how Niantic was able to quickly develop the Global Challenge Arena, the reward system which logged and reported in-game activity in real time for tracking progress towards a common goal. This brought the community to the player, no matter where or how they played the game during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Attendees will learn how the Pokémon Go team developed the Global Challenge Arena reward system in response to COVID-19. They will gain inspiration and insight into the development of the massive scale feature that became the focal point of our biggest, live-ops event of the year.

Intended Audience

This is primarily intended for backend game developers with knowledge of cloud services. However, anyone who can influence the development of a game might be interested in how the team was able to pivot to rapid development and testing of a large feature in a massive scale, online game.