Almost two years ago, Niantic, Nintendo, and The Pokémon Company introduced the world to Pokémon GO. The game was an instant hit and its popularity resulted in many players being unable to play the game due to strain on the game’s servers.
This week, Niantic released an update for the pocket monster game that features friends, gifting, and you guessed it, trading.
Trading has been a major request since day one and — just like catching mechanics — the process for trading your pocketable companions will be a little different than the original games. But, are you still playing?
In fact, the game has an estimated 65M active users and is said to have been downloaded over 800M times.
Pokémon GO was boasting $2M in daily revenues at the end of 2016. The estimated total revenue from the game was a staggering $1.2B at the end of 2017.
And it’s not just a kid’s game. While Pokémon may seem like a game for kids, it isn’t. In 2016 it was reported that close to 80% of players were adults aged 18-34.
You read that right, one in five players are young adults. Of course it makes sense since most of the people in this age group grew up with the original games and anime.
Image via Nintendo
Did you delete the app? Are you only playing once a day to get your daily streak bonus? Is the app collecting virtual dust on your home screen?
While there are still a lot of active users, it does seem that much of the hype surrounding Pokémon GO has come to an end. That being said, if you haven’t played in awhile you might want to give it a second chance because quite a few things have changed.
Let’s look at some of the many reasons for reinstalling Pokémon GO and why it’s now better than ever.
15 Nintendo Switch Integration
Image via The Pokémon Company
The game is considered a main game, but not part of the core series. In other words: it’s not gen 8. Instead the game takes place in the Kanto region and features the original 151 Pokémon. Pokémon: Let’s Go Pikachu!/Eevee! draws inspiration from Pokémon yellow, the anime series, and Pokémon GO.
The games will integrate with Pokémon GO in a few different ways. For starters, Pokémon from the Kanto region caught in the mobile app — including their Alolan forms — can be transferred to Go Park. Here you can interact with the Pokémon and even get the chance to cart them an bring them into your game.
In addition to Go Park, players can get special gifts and use Poké Ball Plus as a means to catch Pokémon in Pokémon GO.
14 More Pokémon
There are currently around 400 Pokémon available to catch in Pokémon GO. This number doesn’t include different genders, forms, and regional variants. Additionally every Pokémon has unique stats and sizes. Of course, more Pokémon will be added to the game over time and, this time players don’t need to wait 20 years. Three generations have already been released and generation four will likely arrive before the end of the summer; bringing the total number to more than 500. Time to catch ‘em all!
13 Less Bugs
Image via Pokémon Go
No, we’re not talking about bug type Pokémon. When the game first launched it was full of glitches. It’s far from perfect but now it’s playable and overall an pretty enjoyable experience.
12 A Better AR Experience
Image via MacRumors
AR+ also brings new game mechanics to the table. Players who use AR+ can sneak up on Pokémon to get a handler’s bonus. Sneaking up also makes Pokémon easier to catch since they are closer. Another perk of AR+ is you’ll sometimes get another chance at catching Pokémon that flee.
11 New Items
The game now features new items that may have not been available the last time you played, including Super Incubators, Raid Passes, TMs (Technical Machines), Rare Candy, and Star Pieces. There are also three types of berries and special items used for evolving certain Pokémon.
10 New Styles and Buddy Pokémon
Image via Niantic
The shop has added some new style choices. Now users can dress their avatars in a variety of different clothing and accessories. Options range from the original getup in Pokémon Red and Blue, to Team Rocket, to hip Alolan garb. Now you can express you… in clothing form.
We have yet to see hairstyles and similar customizations added, but maybe we’ll get this down the road. For now I’m just waiting for them to add actual socks.
In addition to new clothing. Avatars can be paired with a buddy Pokémon. Buddy Pokémon will earn candy the more you walk.
9 iPhone X Support
The heading pretty much says it all. But now you can enjoy Pokémon GO in all it’s edge-to-edge OLED glory. Of course, we’re still holding out for support for Retina displays.
8 Pokémon Plus, Poké Ball Plus, and Support for Apple Watch
Image via Nintendo
There are now even more ways to catch Pokémon and spin PokéStops without taking your phone out of your pocket. In addition to Pokémon Plus, users can now install and use the Apple Watch app and can use Poké Ball Plus when it becomes available. Pre-order it here.
7 Dynamic Weather Conditions
The real world weather now affects gameplay. Players will see different types of Pokémon and some types will get a boost depending on the weather.
6 Improved Gym Battles and New Gym Badges
Gym battles now have a dedicated charged attack button and gyms double as PokéStops. Additionally, Pokémon in gyms can be fed berries to recoup some HP and can earn up to 50 coins per gym. You can even feed your team berries remotely to help them stay in gyms long enough to earn your 50 coins.
5 Raid Battles
Image via Niantic
Raid battles allow users to catch rare and legendary Pokémon. Raid battles require a raid pass to participate. Successful raids even result in some rare items. Users must battle together to bring down the CP of the raid Pokémon before they are given an opportunity to catch it.
4 Research Tasks
Professor Willow is doing some field research and needs your help. The silver-fox professor now assigns research tasks that can help users earn items and encounter Pokémon—including legendaries. If all tasks are completed users may be presented with a chance to catch Mew.
3 Special Events
Special events are occurring more and more often and give players the opportunity to catch specific types of Pokémon. Some events are limited to specific areas.
2 Battle Parties
Users can now create up to five parties of six Pokémon to make selecting a team for gym battles easier. Additionally users can use items on Pokémon right from the battle screen instead of needing to navigate to their bag to heal and revive Pokémon.
1 Friends, Gifting, and Trading
Finally, the moment many trainers have been waiting for. Trading is here. But there’s a slight catch: You can’t trade with just anyone and trades come at a price.
You read that right. Users must add friends, be in the same location, and have enough stardust to complete a trade. To add trainers as friends you’ll need to share your Trainer Code. Once the invitation is accepted you’ll be able to interact within the game.
Gifts can be received from PokéStops and given to friends to open. They can contain items—including eggs—and come with a postcard showing where the gift was obtained.
Sending gifts and participating with friends in Raid Battles can increase both trainers’ Friendship Level. When you are near a friend you want to trade with, your friendship level will determine how much stardust must be used to complete a trade. Keep in mind, Special Trades such as shiny Pokémon and legendaries can only be performed once per day. A legendary trade can cost as much as 1,000,000 stardust, possibly more.
Many More Possibilities
Pokémon GO has added a lot of new features since it was released, but there are still many feature that could be added to improve the gaming experience.
The abilities to battle other players, breed Pokémon, and interact with captured Pokémon are still missing. And there are many things from the core series games that could be incorporated.
For example, non-playable characters (NPCs) and 3D buildings could add a new way of interacting with the real world. Additional “Key Items” such as the Silph Scope and Fishing Rod could allow trainers to more easily locate and catch different types of Pokémon. And Secret Bases could allow users to make their home an integral part of the game, so the fun doesn’t have to stop when your not out and about.
Whether we get Item Finders, Pokémon Centers and Poké Marts, or even Team Rocket is still yet to be seen. But one thing’s for certain. There are still plenty of creative paths for the developers to explore.
Are you still playing the game? What do you want to see in future updates? Are you happy with the new features? Let us know on social media and in the comments below.