Pokémon Go has been out for a long time 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.
Without further ado, here's our guide to every new update rumors as well as the tweaks promised by Niantic so far.
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Latest Pokemon Go update
Just as we approach one year since the launch of Pokémon Go, Niantic has announced a huge new update to the game that will start rolling out from June 19.
These changes are undoubtedly the biggest the game has had in a long time and they should have a positive impact by adding variety to the gameplay and more of a reason to compete in Gyms.
Gyms are being overhauled, new items are being added and a brand new cooperative group gameplay feature called Raid Battles is being introduced in the coming weeks.
Gyms have been changed up to encourage players to engage with them more often, adding a spinnable Photo Discs like the ones currently at Pokéstops which will distribute unique items and Gym Badges.
Gym Badges will serve as mementos but you’ll also be able to level them up through further interactions with Gyms which will earn you unique opportunities to receive bonus items.
Gyms will also now have six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokémon and teams looking to take over the Gym for themselves will battle these six Pokémon in the order they’ve been assigned to the Gym. Each slot must now be filled by a different Pokémon (no double Digletts, please).
A big problem with Gyms in Pokémon Go is that players would often dump powerful Pokémon there and never return to check on them. A new motivation system is changing that. Now, when a Pokémon is defending a Gym they’ll lose motivation over time and their Combat Power will temporarily decrease, making them even more easy to defeat. Trainers from the Gym’s ruling team will need to take time feed the Pokémon defending their Gym berries in order to maintain their motivation.
The biggest new feature is Raid Battles which aims to bring a more cooperative and social dynamic to gameplay. When it’s introduced in a few weeks, players will be able to team up with others near them and work together to defeat powerful Pokémon known as Raid Bosses.
Raid Battles are timed in-game events that’ll be located at Gyms. When they’re happening, the Gym will be unavailable and a large egg will appear on top of it with a timer. When the timer reaches zero, the Raid Boss will be revealed. Players from all teams will be able to join together to defeat the Raid Boss, earn new items or even catch the Raid Boss.
To get involved, you’ll need a Raid Pass and you can get one of these for free each day by visiting a Gym, though they can also be purchased.
Players will also be able to form private raid groups with their friends using a customized code system.
After defeating a Raid Boss you’ll get rewards, some of which are exclusive, including Rare Candies, Golden Razz Berries and two Technical Machines (Fast and Charged).
The changes to Gyms will start being rolled out worldwide today (with Gyms being temporarily disabled to do so) and players will see Raid Battles introduced to the game in the coming weeks.
Pokémon Go update rumors: what we may see next
The expansion into generation 2 Johto region Pokémon 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.
Here's what we've previously heard about updates to Pokémon Go that Hanke may be referring to.
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, and Niantic has now confirmed that will be the case for when it starts in the core game.
Tatsuo Nomura, senior product manager at Niantic told Polygon trading "won't be "through the internet" when it launches.
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.
Niantic CEO John Hanke has confirmed the company plans to bring the legendary Pokémon to the game by the end of 2017.
Exactly when we'll see Zapdos, Articuno, Moltres, Mew and MewTwo is unclear.
There's no word on what legendary monsters will be released upon the world in Pokémon Go, but we'd expect it to be the list above as those are the first generation monsters.
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.
- Want more Pokémon Go? Check out our Pokémon Go tips and tricks guide.
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