Nearing its first year anniversary, Pokemon Go continues to add intriguing new components to its otherwise simple gameplay loop of walking and catching virtual monsters. The latest wrinkle the developers at Niantic are throwing into the mix appear to be akin to block parties.

Over on Forbes, they're reporting that an announcement from Niantic has outlined what appears to be a sort of organized public gathering for Pokemon Go players. Niantic isn't trying to do this solo, however, partnering with a series of events called "Open Streets Project" to host an event in Charlotte, North Carolina, on May 7. Open Streets is an pretty unique series of events geared at getting folks outside and mingling with their neighbors. In a way, it falls in line perfectly with the theme of Pokemon Go. Niantic CEO John Hanke said as much in the announcement.

We founded Niantic to give people the chance to connect with the world around them using technology and games in innovative ways. The partnership with the Knight Foundation is a great forum to explore how technology can drive civic engagement.

To clarify, the Knight Foundation is the parent company of those Open Streets events. At the events, they literally close off a chunk of streets and set up all kinds of activities for folks to enjoy. From rock climbing walls to jump rope competitions and beyond, the whole point is that folks come out of their homes, meet some new folks and enjoy some fun activities together.

As part of this partnership with Niantic, a total of 16 PokeStops and two gyms will be established at the upcoming Charlotte Open Streets event. So while folks are out enjoying the festivities, they can catch Pokemon, stock up on items and battle at special gyms. We assume lures will be on all of those stops in order to enhance activity, too. But as the original report points out, no other in-game events are planned for Pokemon Go at the Open Streets event. So folks won't be able to catch an especially rare critter or anything, they're just being given an extra incentive to get out and get involved.

Since this is the only such event we've heard about so far, we're curious if folks in other parts of the country have heard of similar programs being established. Since Niantic refers to this as a partnership, we have to assume they'll have special Pokemon Go promotions at other Open Streets events this year, too.

More importantly, what might this mean for the game in general? As a fun collaboration, it makes a lot of sense. But is it possible Niantic is testing the water for other types of in-game activities, too? Big raid battles, for instance, requiring a lot of players to be in the same location at the same time? We'll just have to wait and see.

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