Despite Niantic's recent wave of layoffs, which saw the company cutting 8% of their workforce, it appears that things are on the move at the studio which made Pokémon GO.

Their latest Nintendo mobile game, Pikmin Bloom, came out in late 2021, and invited players to catch, raise, and manage a horde of Pikmin in an AR setting on their mobile phones. As of 11th July, Pikmin Bloom is getting a host of new features as part of its latest update, which includes new weekly challenges, friend invites, and the promise of physical events (US only).

Below is the information from the Niantic website on the update:

New Flower Planting Weekly Challenges

With today’s release, we’re adding a new kind of Weekly Challenge where the goal is focused on the number of flowers planted instead of steps. Now users can choose between these two types of challenges weekly, or participate in both at the same time!

Additionally, all users who join a challenge and complete it before 7/24 can receive special outfits for their Mii avatar as rewards: an “Explore” T-shirt when they join and complete a step-based challenge before 7/17, or a “Flower” Print T-shirt when they join and complete a flower planting challenge before 7/24.

Invite your loved ones to join in on Weekly Challenges

We’re excited to release the invite feature for Weekly Challenges today! With this update, you won’t need to wait for other players to join your challenge anymore. Instead, challenges now include an “invite” option that allows users to invite specific friends to join their challenges, making it easier to gather particular friend or family groups.

Physical events coming to select locations in the US soon

Community is at the heart of Pikmin Bloom, and we can’t emphasize enough how important connection is for us. Connection with friends and family, of course, but also connection with the real world, your immediate environment and your fellow users! We cannot wait to meet as many of our users as possible, so we can directly hear from you about your Pikmin Bloom experience, and we can enjoy walking together.

In order to achieve this, we are planning physical events that will take place in the US soon. Stay tuned to our official channels for more information!

In celebration of this new update, there's even a hashtag: #WalkOnGameOn. Better than #TouchGrass, we suppose.

To access these new features, make sure that your app is updated to the latest version (v48).