On July 6th, 2016, Pokémon GO launched for iOS and Android mobile devices, changing the face of mobile gaming in the process.
It shattered records for mobile games, broke through the mainstream in a way few video games ever do, and became such a big fad that it even influenced local legislation in some areas. And since its record-breaking launch, Pokémon GO has changed quite a bit, thanks to regular updates from Niantic.
Niantic has supported Pokémon GO with regular updates since launch, introducing new features like raids and adding second generation Pokémon to the game. However, there’s still a number of ways Pokémon GO can be improved even further, and we think these eight big updates could make it a much better game.
Generation 3 Pokémon
Considering Pokémon GO‘s persistent popularity, the addition of Gen 3 Pokémon to the game has always seemed like an inevitability. Fans have been waiting months to get their hands on some third generation pocket monsters, but as it turns out, they may not have to wait much longer.
Dataminers have discovered hints at third generation Pokémon in the code for Pokémon GO‘s latest update, fueling speculation that the creatures will be added to the game before the year is out. If Niantic manages to add popular Pokémon like Mudkip and Torchic to the game, it could enjoy another boom in popularity, and even convince lapsed players to start playing again.
Ho-oh, Mew and other Legendary Pokémon
Niantic celebrated Pokémon GO‘s one year anniversary with live events all over the world, but the game’s anniversary was also marked with the introduction of legendary Pokémon. While the third generation legendaries are still not in the game for obvious reasons, there are legendary Pokémon from the first two generations that also have yet to appear in any legendary raids, including Ho-oh, Mew, and the three legendary beasts from Gold and Silver. As it stands, Niantic hasn’t given any indication when these legendary Pokémon will join their peers in Pokémon GO, or if any of these will be invite-only raids like Mewtwo.
Pokémon Gold and Silver, the second generation of Pokémon games, added more than just new Pokémon to the franchise. It also introduced a number of new gameplay features and mechanics that have remained in the series to this day, like Pokemon breeding. Pokémon GO already has eggs players can collect from PokéStops, but what hatches from the eggs is random, so Pokémon breeding could be a way for players to obtain eggs and actually know what they’re going to get when it hatches.
Pokémon trading has been promised by Niantic since before Pokémon GO even launched, touted as a feature in the game’s reveal trailer. Fast forward to over a year since Pokémon GO landed on mobile devices, and fans still have yet to see any sign that the often-requested feature is making its way to the game any time soon. It’s hard to say when Pokémon trading will finally come to Pokémon GO, but when it does, it should make it possible for those that are unable to complete raids to obtain legendary Pokémon.
Player Versus Player Battles
Another feature that has been promised since before Pokémon GO launched is player versus player battles. Like Pokémon trading, we still have no idea when players can expect this feature to be added to the game, but when it does come, it should give dedicated players another reason to keep playing.
Nothing concrete on player versus player battles has been released by Niantic beyond the fact that the feature will likely come to Pokémon GO at some point in the future. So, it will be interesting to see how it’s implemented.
Raid organization feature
Pokémon GO‘s raids have been met with some enthusiasm by players, as it gives them the opportunity to catch some of the game’s rarer and more powerful creatures without having to catch them out in the wild. However, there have been some criticisms levied at raids, especially when it comes to legendary raids, which may require a full team of 20 for most Pokémon GO players to be successful.
Raids are made even more frustrating when one considers that there is no way to organize a raid group in-game, meaning players have to rely on third party apps or social media to get a solid group together. Since raids are such an important part of the current Pokémon GO experience, hopefully Niantic plans on adding a raid organization feature at some point in the near future to alleviate some of these annoyances.
Before Pokémon GO adds even more new content, though, the team at Niantic may want to take the time to improve on what’s already there. More specifically, the game’s combat system could use some work, so that gym battles and raid encounters amount to more than just wildly tapping the screen. An improved combat system in raids and gyms could also make player versus player battles more appealing when that particular feature finally makes its way to the game.
Another way Pokémon GO could revamp gyms for the better is by lifting the 50 coin cap. Right now, players can only earn 50 coins per day at gyms, so the more dedicated Pokémon GO players aren’t rewarded for controlling as many gyms as possible. Lifting the 50 coin cap should ensure that players are more appropriately rewarded for their gym battling efforts, though Niantic may be hesitant to implement such a change as it could cut into its microtransaction sales.
By releasing the shiny variants of the Pokémon that are already available in Pokémon GO, Niantic could give players with a mostly full PokéDex more reason to go Pokémon hunting as they wait for the big generation 3 update.
When Niantic implements these eight big updates to Pokémon GO, it will have a more fully-featured game on its hands. However, Pokémon GO will likely receive many more updates after these, which will add new Pokémon, features, and more to the popular mobile game.
In the meantime, it will be exciting to see when some of the updates on this list make it to the game. Plus, it will be interesting to see if any of them are enough to bring back lapsed players or convince new Pokémon trainers to join the worldwide phenomenon.