After data miners inadvertently uncovered code for something called "promo codes" back in the APK 0.59.1 leak, Pokémon Go fans wondered what they might be. Now that promo codes have been officially implemented — for Android, at least — a lot of players are speculating about when we'll see them rolled out.
If these features are anything like what Niantic did for previous game Ingress, there are a lot of moving parts you'll have to keep track of.
How to get promo codes for Pokémon Go: Will they work like passcodes in Ingress?
As of now, Niantic hasn't made an official announcement about promo codes in Pokémon Go, aside from a short post on its website notifying Android users the codes were active. But a lack of information on Niantic's part doesn't mean we're flying blind to promo codes. Fans of Niantic's previous game, Ingress, have some thoughts about how Pokémon Go might see these codes implemented based on their own experience with Ingress's passcodes.
According to a Promo Codes FAQ posted on the Silph Road by user davidj93, it's reasonable to think promo codes and passcodes might be incredibly similar in implementation. Based on its Ingress analogues, a promo code for Pokémon Go could contain anywhere from a single PokéStop's item yield to a much larger cache of in-game items when used.
What's unusual about Ingress passcodes, which may very well apply to Pokémon Go promo codes, is they're often distributed through social media. They also tend to have an upper limit of individuals who can use them, although a single player can only reap the benefits of a passcode once.
It's uncertain whether Niantic will impose a numerical limit on promo codes for Pokémon Go. It depends on the potential limit to items you can get with them at PokéStops, like Berries and Pokéballs. However, if promo codes apply to items available for purchase with PokéCoins — like incubators, Lucky Eggs and PokéCoins themselves — Niantic may have to limit the number of users taking advantage of promo codes to avoid taking a huge hit with microtransactions.
In Ingress, passcodes are only redeemed if your inventory has the space to store the items you'll receive. If your inventory is full, you won't get the items, but you also won't lose the passcode.
Silph Road user davidj93 warns against trying to "guess" promo codes: Ingress locks players out of passcodes for a short time if they keep guessing them, so you're better off waiting for actual promo codes.
Speaking of actual promo codes, it's unlikely we'll see them implemented in-game until after Niantic finishes negotiating with Apple, due to the latter's 30% fee applied to each transaction. Although davidj93 claimed such negotiations are already underway, that's nothing more than speculation at this point — and iPhone players may be required to enter their promo codes on a proprietary site to take advantage of them.
More Pokémon Go news, updates, tips and tricks
Check out Mic's Pokémon Go guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokémon you get from 10-kilometer eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.