Pokémon Pass is a new phone app that allows you to scan specific areas and obtain various rewards, including some exclusive Pokémon.
The days of traveling with your parents to a Toys "R" Us for a chance to trade for a Mew may be gone, but the developers of the Pokémon games still expect their fans to make the trip to stores in order to download an exclusive Pokémon.
Pokémon Pass is available for Android devices and iPhones starting today. The purpose of Pokémon Pass is to allow players to scan specific QR codes when attending events, which they can then claim in their Pokémon games for exclusive rewards.
The first promotion that will use Pokémon Pass involves visiting participating Target stores in order to receive a code for a Shiny Eevee that can be added to Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! or a code for a Shiny Pikachu that can be added to Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!
The Pokémon Pass app seems to be a natural extension of the other means used to distribute exclusive Pokémon in the past. In Pokémon Red & Blue and throughout the Nintendo era, players had to bring their games to specific events in order to receive Pokémon from special devices. The Nintendo DS era allowed Pokémon to be distributed over the Internet, which became more commonplace in the Nintendo 3DS era.
The Nintendo 3DS era often used promotions that involved stores giving away free download codes on receipts that could be used to acquire Pokémon. It seems like the purpose of the Pokémon Pass app is to make sure that everyone actually goes to the store (which is the intended purpose of the promotion), as a lot of stores had no problem giving away several codes to anyone who asked.
The issue with this system is that it requires the player to scan a QR code, so there is nothing stopping someone from taking a picture of that code and uploading it to the Internet.
The Pokémon Pass app can be used to download a free Shiny Eevee or Shiny Pikachu at participating Target stores from May 11 to June 23, 2019. The Pokémon Pass is only available in the USA.