'Pokémon Go' Special Pikachu: Party hat spawn rates revealed for Pokémon Day event

Mic

Now that the Pokémon Day celebration has come and gone in Pokémon Go and the dust has settled, the question on everyone's mind is probably the same: Did you catch a special party hat Pikachu? If you caught one near the end of the event, you're not alone. According Pokémon Go online community The Silph Road, spawn rates for "Partychu" increased significantly during the back half of the event, and players have been struggling to figure out why.

Pokémon Go Special Pikachu: Spawn rates for party hat Pikachu during the Pokémon Day event

A post on The Silph Road by user FrankieTAE explains that after seeing an initial bump in party hat Pikachu spawns on the first day of the event, they used a third-party tracking device to aggregate data on the event's spawn rates for their city. Their results seemed to indicated that the spawn rate for party hat Pikachu did indeed increase over the course of the event, and markedly so:

• Feb. 27 - 0.333%
• Feb 28 - Did not record
• March 1 - 0.591%
• March 2 - 0.588%
• March 3 - DNR
• March 4 - 2.815%
• March 5 - 2.911%
• March 6 - 2.719%

FrankieTAE's results would definitely indicate that the spawn rate for party hat Pikachu grew a lot during the back half of the event: from March 2 to March 4 there was just under a 5x increase in party hat Pikachu's spawn rates. If your Pokémon Go app was weirdly bereft of special Pikachu during the end of February but you suddenly caught three (like we did) on March 4, that's probably why.

Pokémon Go Special Pikachu: What caused the spawning spike?

Although the evidence points to Niantic increasing the spawn rate for Pikachu at the end of the event, The Silph Road struggled to understand why the spawn rate changed the way it did. 

User FrankieTAE proposed either the event was designed to fluctuate spawn rates or that Niantic simply "flicked a switch" at some point to increase the spawning rate to ensure that enough players received the special Pikachu, but admits that you can't really tell which it was from their data alone.

"There is simply not enough data to conclusively say one way or the other," they wrote. "I unfortunately did not record the spawn rate every day during the event, and making definitive conclusions would be irresponsible."

Although FrankieTAE's data doesn't provide definitive answers about why the spawn rate increased, the fact remains that it definitely did. So if you didn't get a party hat Pikachu this time around, there's always next year! Or you could wait until proximity trading hits the app and hope one of your friends is feeling generous. 

Either way, it pays to be on the lookout every day during a Pokémon spawning event if you really want the Pokémon in question. Which is, truth be told, probably exactly what Niantic wants you to be doing in the first place.

More Pokémon Go guides, tips, tricks and updates

Check out Mic's Pokémon Go tips and tricks. Here are guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokemon 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.