Pokemon GO-ing Forward
Pokemon Go has been a global phenominan that has surpassed the expectations of everyone.
Everyone from longtime fans of the series to complete newcomers seem excited to be playing it. Only today I was stood waiting for someone to finsish paying for something and while looking at my phone a man that must have been in his 70’s said ‘you won’t catch anything here’.
It has transended the typical gaming genre and has infiltrated pop culture unlike anything we have seen in years.
But for Niantic, The Pokemon Company and Nintendo to keep the juggernaut moving forward they will have to expand and innovate the current product to keep people interested beyond the enjoyable, but frankly bare bones experience that is currently available.
Here are 5 Features I think should be added to help evolve Pokemon Go and keep the momentum going.
1) More Pokemon
This may seem like an obvious one but adding more Pokemon to the game may not be as easily implemented as first thought. Currently it is already difficult to locate some desired Pokemon and even more tricky to catch enough of them in order to evolve them into their higher forms. Adding more Pokemon to Pokemon Go is a natural progression and one that will be needed but Niantic will have to be careful not to make some Pokemon too hard to find and at the same time not have a constant influx of different Pokemon appearing on the map to make it overwhelming and taking the challenge away.
Then comes the next issue of which ones to add. It may seem logical to work their way through the Pokedex, as these are the ones that the highest percentage of users will recognise. But adding the newest Pokemon from the up and coming games released this year may be a smarter move from a business standpoint to help advertise Nintendo’s and The Pokemon Company’s up and coming products.
With the amount of casual fans enjoying the collection aspect regardless of their product knowledge I can see the newest Pokemon being added before other more well known and loved generations.
This one has been confirmed to be coming, possibly in the near future. Whether or not it will be for the best is a different point though. Currently one of the challenges and competitive aspects of the game is trying to find every Pokemon before your friends. Adding trading to the game will take away some of the challenge that the game has. Yes it will help increase the social interaction that is obviously a key aspect but will it ultimately hinder the longevity of the game especially if the addition of new Pokemon doesn’t happen for months/years into its lifespan.
For Pokemon Go to have legs in the general market months from now, Niantic will have to be clever in adding features that enhance the game but don’t make it too easy.
3) Player VS Player Battling
This one will come sooner rather than later I believe. Being such a integral part of the core series it seems only likely that it will make the transition to Pokemon Go. If done correctly this could add a great new dimension to the game as currently the only was to battle is at a gym. Being able to battle against your friends or near by trainers live in real time would could really help drive the game forward and give it the legs it needs to allow Niantic time to impliment other new features without user numbers dropping off too much.
As the game stands at the moment battling is just a simple quick tap mini game but in the future, as casual players get used to the game and the Pokemon in it, it would also be good to see more tradition battling mechanics from the main series transfer over.
One of the biggest features of the core series that is missing from Pokemon Go is Gym Badges. Current Gyms are based around battling in order to take over that gym for your respected team. Adding the addition of Badges would allow for another level of collection as well as encouraging players to take on different gyms.
The way I see it unfolding is Niantic setting up Gyms with different Gym leaders and badges in cities across a country. These Gym leaders could be like the core games and use specific types of Pokemon. Then if defeated you would be rewarded with the corresponding badge. Different regions from across the world could then have different sets of badges from the main series to add a national and global collection element to the game.
5) Profile Customisation
When starting the game I was surprised to see so few choices there where for character customisation. If Niantic is to add more interaction between players they should allow for each player to make a more personal and unique avatar to present themselves. This could come as unlocks through ingame achievements or through ingame purchases to create more income. The addition of Player Profile cards outlining ones achievement and progression would also be welcome to profile players you meet.
These are 5 things I feel would benefit the game going forward. Let me know in the comments if you agree or disagree plus any other ideas you may have.