Pokémon GO: How Day Time Affects Spawn Rates

By Kim Chan , Feb 27, 2017 06:12 AM EST

Several days following the Gen 2 update, some players noticed that in a specific time of the day, the spawn rate of specific Pokémon significantly increases. This then led to some saying that Dark Pokémon spawn a lot often during the evening hours. But is there really truth behind this notion? Let's find out.

Pokémon GO: Hidden Night/Day Features

In the original series, night and day have a huge impact in the game: evolution, encounters, etc. The good news is that Niantic has adopted this system in their Gen 2 update. However, just as how reticent the company is for their plans for updates and changes, is the fact that these features were added in a very subtle way.

In the patch notes for all the changes in the Gen 2 update; small details like night/day evolution and spawn rate were not explicitly stated. In our previous report, it was found out that Niantic has adopted the night/day system when incorporating evolution to Eevee specifically in obtaining Umbreon and Espeon. It turns out that aside from the name trick, there's a far better way to evolve Eevee into the aforementioned Pokémon (multiple times) using the night/day + friendship feature. You can find all the details about the evolution here.

After this discovery, it was imminent that Niantic will fully adopt the concept of night/day system from the original series and so, it brought about an interesting concept from researchers: "does night/day also affects the spawn rate of Pokémon? " It turns out that the answer is yes.

How Time Influences Spawn Rates In Pokémon GO

A test conducted by Go Hub revealed that night and day feature affects the spawn rate of specific Pokémon - for instance, Dark and Psychic spawns much often during the evening hours. According to the published data, the spawn rate of these types heightens starting at 20:00 where it accelerates further starting from 00:00 up to 02:00 (local time). Here is the summary of the test:

First: Dark and Psychic types spawn heavily during the evening hours starting from 20:00 of the player's local time. Second, the spawn numbers are unusually high at 00:00 to 01:00 but drops off aggressively around 02:00. Lastly, the researchers found no connection with the in-game visual of Day/Night cycle as it turns out that it's only a cosmetic visual effect and was proven to have no correlation to the actual world spawns/encounters. You can check the raw statistics here.

How The Data Was Taken

According to GO Hub, for this research, they used a CSV file which was provided by an unnamed Reddit user that manages a private tracker. The entire data set can be found here. In order to obtain results, they then used SQL queries: CTEs, Group By and Left Join. All dataset is organized as follows:

Feb 18 - contains spawn info (spawnld,pokeld, spawnTime)
types - contains Pokémon specie typing information
pokemon_types - contains generic Pokemon type descriptions
*Note: All times were taken using Local Time of the user's area.


The research revealed that Dark and Psychic Pokémon had an increased spawn rates during the evening hours (20:00-02:00). While the majority of Pokémon falls under the "normal daily cycle" which is around 10:00 to 20:00 (local time), it's interesting to see how Niantic adopts fully from the original series' concept. However, there are still a lot of tests to be taken in order to fully understand the spawn pattern of specific types like that of Ice and Dragon. Check back for more Pokemon Go News and Updates!

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