It may have only been just over a year since Pokemon GO (Free) launched with such aplomb on the App Store, but it feels like a lifetime ago. A lot has certainly changed since July 2016, not only on the App Store and in the wider world, but also within the augmented reality application itself. A whole new cast of creatures was implemented, Legendary Pokemon have finally reared their heads, and despite a few Pokemon GO Fest-sized speedbumps, Niantic have really started to hit their stride with updated to the game in recent weeks. However, one feature that has been promised from the beginning and has been sorely missed is trading, as any real Pokemon Master will tell you that swapping monsters and battling your friends is a fundamental part of the experience. Currently, gym and the occasional raid battle showdown are the only multiplayer elements of the game, but it looks like that may be changing sooner rather than later for Pokemon GO. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, The Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara outlined the developer’s vision for Pokemon GO, which includes Pokemon trading and peer-to-peer battles.
Of course, what Niantic and The Pokemon Company promise for Pokemon GO doesn’t always translate into reality, and considering the ability to trade has been on the cards since before the game even launched, I’ll wait to see the feature as an App Store update before I believe it’s actually happening. It will also be interesting how the implementation of trading changes the balance of the game – in the interview, Ishihara muses about how the developers were forced to compromise out of safety and fairness in making Pokemon locations representative of their character, and so being able to trade could open up to more true area specific Pokemon to enforce more cooperation between players. With Ishihara stating only about 10% of the developers’ ultimate vision has been realised in the game thus far, it will be interesting to see what other features beyond simply more Pokemon will be added to keep players occupied in Pokemon GO in the coming months.