Update: The expansion into Gen 2 was the first of three major updates planned for this year according to Niantic CEO John Hanke.
During a keynote at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Hanke said there would be three “major” updates to the game later in 2017, though he didn’t reveal exactly what they’ll be.
He has, however, teased previously that trading and player vs player battles would be added to the game “soon” so it seems likely that these will be part of the major updates planned for 2017.
Check out everything we know about what’s coming next in Pokémon Go:
Pokémon Go has been out for more than six months now, and while the app has progressed a lot in this time – just remember how unstable the servers when it launched – there’s still lots more work to be done.
Some of these features are ones that developer Niantic spoke about prior to the release of the game, while others have been promised since the game’s release.
One feature in particular, the ‘Nearby’ functionality, is something that Niantic removed from the game to reduce the load on its servers , and took months to be rolled out globally. Now that that’s out, though, what else is coming up?
Without further ado, here’s our guide to every new update rumors as well as the tweaks promised by Niantic so far.
Pokémon Go rumors
There’s been rumors for a while now that more Pokemon would be added to the game and now it’s been confirmed that 80 more are coming in the next week. The Pokemon being added are from the generation 2 Johto region and will include popular starters Chikorita, Cyndaquil and Totodile.
Trading was a key component in the original games, but it’s remained absent from Pokémon Go despite repeated assurances that the feature is on its way.
In the beta, trading was a local-only affair, meaning that you couldn’t trade with players over the internet, but Niantic hasn’t yet confirmed how it expects trading to work in the final game.
We can’t wait for trading to make its way into the game. It always feels like a bit of a waste transferring rare Pokémon just because they’re a duplicate, and it’ll be great being able to put them to use.
Another feature that’s been rumored for some time is battling between players.
As it currently stands the only battling functionality in the game is between players and opposing gyms, but since before the game’s release Niantic has been promising that PvP battling is coming and CEO John Hanke has confirmed it’s in the works.
When Pokémon Go was at the height of its popularity, commercial locations which happened to also be PokéStops or gyms sometimes found an increase in the number of customers they were attracting. At the very least they had something that would draw them in.
It was no surprise, then, when rumors emerged that Niantic was considering teaming up with McDonalds that would see the fast food companies many chains become PokeLocations in which customers would be able to access exclusive in-app content.
This rumor hasn’t actually come to anything, but recently leaked internal memos are pointing to another partnership, this time between Niantic and Starbucks.
The memos, which were intended for Starbucks employees only, suggest that the partnership will see the majority of US Starbucks branches become either PokéStops or Gyms and that when players are in a Starbucks location they’ll have the chance to unlock a limited edition Pokémon Go-themed Frappucino. Though even customers who haven’t unlocked the beverage in the game will still be able to buy it.
The leaked memo states that the promotion is due to begin on December 8 and Starbucks’ expectation is that it’ll encourage more customers to visit and “increase number of transactions.”
The most interesting part of the memo, though, is that it states this partnership will see the introduction of a brand new Pokémon into the game. There’s no information on what this Pokémon will be or whether it will only spawn in Starbucks locations so speculation is rife.
It does feel slightly off that a game that claimed its intention was to encourage people to explore cultural locations where they live is now trying to draw them into corporate locations instead. However, it’s early to judge and only time will tell how these commercial partnerships will play out and whether or not they’ll be good for the player.