UPDATE 5.10PM UK: Pokémon Go's new level 50 cap has now been reached - by not one but two players.
After last night's shenanigans (see below), Australian player Laurenlolly hit level 50 at 3.29am local time (4.30pm UK here). However, she was not the first to do so.
Fellow Australian FleeceKing - known in the community for playing alongside his mum and getting her account to the old cap of 40 - was first in the world, just 16 minutes earlier.
LEVEL 50 IN POKÉMON GO!!! First in the world ?— FleeceKing (@ItsFleeceKing) January 25, 2021
Thank you all so so much for tuning into the stream and watching this monumental moment live when it happened! I had almost 5,000 viewers at a single moment, I?m in so much shock...thank you all so much ?? pic.twitter.com/dBmO2MoAYX
Both players benefitted from being skipped through the majority of the requirements necessary to hit level 49 after a glitch and subsequent fix by developer Niantic. More on all that in our original story.
ORIGINAL STORY 11.50AM UK: A Pokémon Go player is now on the cusp of being the first in the world to hit level 50 - the game's new level cap - after a series of errors launched them to the front of the pack.
Last night, several players hit level 48 for the first time, after waiting out a timed requirement that had kept the race to level 50 at a stalemate for the past couple of weeks.
As midnight hit in New Zealand and then Australia, players down under became the first to see the game's new set of challenges to level them up to 49. Several of these challenges looked like they would take some time - but one player was about to get an unexpected boost.
At 10pm UK time last night, Australian player Laurenlolly posted on Twitter that she was now level 48 and making progress with the new challenges to hit level 49. But, six hours later, she reported that numerous players working on the new challenges had suddenly found their progress reset back to zero. Developer Niantic's support account replied and said it would investigate the error.
Three hours after that, Laurenlolly posted again to say Niantic had now responded to the error by suddenly setting all of her level 49 requirements to completed - meaning she was now level 49 right then and there.
I?m so overwhelmed with the response from the community. No I?m not faking it and yes I am level 49. Here?s my current progress! pic.twitter.com/0ncXvxGZBY— Lauren Bertoni (@Lauren_lolly_) January 25, 2021
Currently, no other players have reported receiving the same boost through the whole of level 49 in response to having their progress reset, despite it having affected various other players. Some fans have called for equal treatment for all players in the race to level 50, while others have said Laurenlolly has been given an unfair advantage.
Regardless, Laurenlolly is now ahead of the pack and with a clear advantage to hit level 50 first.
Level 50 requirements include a further 30m XP, 999 Excellent Throws, 5 Legendary Catches in a row from Legendary encounters, three Team Go Rocket Leader wins with Pokémon under 2500CP, and to hit rank 10 in Go Battle League.
Laurenlolly already has the XP and GBL requirements met, meaning we're likely to see the game's first level 50 player within the next few days.
We've contacted Niantic for comment.