Home » , , , » Niantic Just Officially Confirmed that PvP, Trading, Live Events Are Coming Really Soon to Pokemon GO

Niantic Just Officially Confirmed that PvP, Trading, Live Events Are Coming Really Soon to Pokemon GO

Concept Art of the possible Mewtwo Event by Albert Choi
Pokémon GO players have once again started starving for information about the game, as Niantic does not speak about its long- or even short-term plans for the game very often. This most recent Valentine’s event was announced literally hours before it began, and the only reason anyone can guess at anything else that’s coming in the future is because fans are data mining hidden info out of patches.

But that sort of changes today as there are a number of points of interest in a new Waypoint interview with Niantic’s John Hanke, where he reflects not only on the success of Pokémon GO, but talks a bit about what’s coming, albeit with no firm dates attached to any of it.

John Hanke, founder and CEO of Pokémon Go developer Niantic, revealed in an interview that both co-operative trading and player vs player battles are in the works, although their introduction is likely to be staggered via a series of updates, in what he called "an abbreviated form".

The omission of the two features around launch time was said to be down to the daunting server issues the company experienced shortly after the debut of Pokémon Go last summer. Hanke revealed that if the company hadn't been so busy trying to keep the servers online, at least one of the features would likely have been in version 1 of the game.

"It’s going to be done soon," Hanke told Waypoint. "It is what it is. I'll take the massive wave of hysteria we enjoyed, and just deal with the fact that it's caused us to take a bit longer to get the rest of the features up. We're really happy to make our users happy."

I highly suggest you read the whole piece, but here are some of the key points along with what I think of each of them:

1) PvP and Pokémon trading are features that may have already been in the game if not for all the server trouble Niantic had to fix near launch. The truth is many delays of major features may be because of those initial problems, but Niantic believes fixing the fundamentals were important before moving on. But both trading and PvP are “on the way.”

Trading should be introduced before PvP, as the entire battling system needs to be reworked before PvP is of any use to anyone. But trading is an even more complicated prospect as it could easily ruin many aspects of the game if not handled correctly and a “Poké-Black Market” springs up with strangers trading Pokémon for cash. I’m not 100% convinced the game needs either of these features, to be honest, given the havoc they could cause.

2) Hanke seems to admit that the gym battling system is not as deep as he’d like and calls it “rudimentary,” which may imply some sort of upgrade in the future.

This section was a little unclear, but I would agree that the gym system, and the battling system overall remains the worst aspect of the game. Catching Pokémon is fine, but the tap-heavy battling system is far worse than the turn-based system the handheld games have, and I would love to see that introduced into Pokémon GO (if The Pokémon Company would even allow that).

3) He also says he wants to focus more on co-operative play, finding more things to do and interact with “in the world,” and maintains the old tracking system the game launched with will never be back.

For money, the tracking problem is mostly solved. The new tracker that ties spawns to PokéStops may not be perfect and could use some tweaking, but honestly, it’s a lot easier find stuff now than even when the one-to-three step tracker was working properly during the game’s launch. In terms of more ways to interact in the world, I really, really hope that might be a tiny hint about possible NPC encounters in the wild, but that’s reading a lot into that.

4) Hanke still has an ultimate dream of Niantic-led live events. “My heart is really with events, and that’s something I want us to solve in 2017. It’s complicated, though, to do them at the scale that Pokémon GO demands,” he says.

This implies that Niantic still may have the dream of releasing Legendary Pokémon through real-life, real-location events, which may be why we haven’t seen them yet. I still don’t know how feasible this is (or if it’s even the right decision for the game), but they seem determined to “solve it,” as he says.

5) Hanke doesn’t talk about Gen 2 in a specific quote, but it’s mentioned in the article like a stated fact. Though again, not with any firm dates.

It would have been nice to get even an approximate window for Gen 2, or some info about its release (in bulk? trickling out a few at a time?), but it’s possible they may not even have a firm plan yet.

There’s a lot to digest here, but I’m…slightly worried? I just don’t know if PvP and trading are the right things to be focused on, given the former’s uselessness with the current battling system, and the latter’s ability to potentially wreck the game if it’s rolled out poorly. Similarly, I would rather Niantic get around to releasing Legendary Pokémon sooner rather than later, not waiting to figure out how to actually cram everyone into Time Square to catch a Mewtwo with a live event. There are other ways to go about that, and while live events may work in the future, I don’t think these Pokémon should be delayed until Niantic solves this apparent enigma.

Still, it’s a very interesting read, and a lot more information than we normally get. Hopefully we will hear more official announcements soon, but from the sound of it, we might get PvP or trading before Gen 2 or Legendaries at this rate.