How Pokemon Go Can Stay Relevant
As many have predicted, Pokemon Go has started losing much of its hold over the mobile market and its players. Being deemed a fad, casual gamers and hardcore Pokemon fans alike have drifted away from the revolutionary game. A few things, however, could draw that player base back before they completely write off the game.
One of the main ways that players can be drawn back to the game is simply to get access to new content -- in this case, Generation 2 Pokemon. Rumored to be set for release in 2017, having new creatures to capture and train will excite the fan base again. Many younger trainers have favorite Pokemon from the later generations, while those who have been loyal fans since childhood have fond memories of first being introduced to Generations 1 and 2. Not only does Generation 2 introduce new Pokemon, but Dark type Pokemon and baby Pokemon come into the mix.
Improved Egg Hatching
The current system for hatching eggs is to walk a certain number of km, either 2, 5 or 10, in order to hatch the egg. This corresponds to the console Pokemon games, where the player has to walk a certain distance in order for the egg to hatch. Not only that, but one of the main goals of Pokemon Go was to get people walking. This has been achieved by using a mobile devices built in GPS system to track players as they move through the world, exploring their neighborhoods and hunting for Pokemon.
Unfortunately, the GPS tracking comes with some downfalls. For example, those that live in rural areas may not have as many places to walk that are safe or may not have the time to walk from place to place. There may be areas where they lose the GPS signal, as I often do when taking my dog for a walk. Those that work in large buildings are not rewarded for their walking, as the building is a single GPS location. Egg space is also limited and can fill up quite quickly. If a player only has the one incubator that comes standard in the game, it can take quite some time to hatch eggs and clear space.
The simple solution is to switch from GPS tracking to tracking a player's steps via a phones gyroscope. The majority of phones come with this technology built in, allowing it to count the number of steps a person takes when it has a monitoring program open. This will open a whole new way of interacting with the game. From walking at work, to walking around your home, to running on a treadmill, those steps would be counted towards hatching eggs. This will allow the limited egg space to clear faster, with more eggs being able to be gathered at PokeStops.
The excitement of hatching eggs, as well as the change in monitoring, would help bring back the players that have grown uninterested in the game. It could encourage them to invest in the PokeWatch, and be used to replace a Fitbit or other software for younger players who want to see how active they are in a day.
A Better Battle System (With Other Trainers)
Pokemon Go has set an astounding movement in motion of getting gamers outside, interacting with each other face to face and exploring their surroundings. This is a mirror of the console games and TV shows, where the main character hunts Pokemon and makes friends with other trainers. One major piece of the Pokemon legacy is missing, however -- battling. While battling at gyms throughout the world is a great start, players do not really face off against each other. This is one of the main staples in the original games, battle helps train Pokemon, make them stronger and forge new bonds.
Implementing a system where players can face off against their friends or other players in the area will bring this aspect to life. The game already works off GPS tracking. Being able to see other players in the vicinity will allow battles to occur. This brings strategy, competition, and player interaction to a new level. Team tournaments could be held, where the best of the best in an area can compete. Current Pokemon Leagues can include events in their weekly meet ups. In-game rewards for winning battles, such as stardust, revives or Pokeballs, would be an incentive to train a players team and try out the new feature.
Time and time again I hear players say that it would be nice to trade with their friends. I myself have thought how I would like to trade some of the multiples I have to friends who do not have those Pokemon in their area. Trading has always been an aspect of Pokemon, from certain species needing to be traded in order to evolve, to certain Pokemon only appearing in one version of the game. If they really want players to become Pokemon Masters and “catch 'em all”, then this needs to be implemented in the game.
If Niantic and Pokemon want to have Pokemon GO remain a relevant factor in the world of mobile gaming, and a household name in general, then they need to implement these changes as quickly as possible to draw the player base back to the game.
What do you think Niantic needs to do in order to keep Pokemon Go going strong? Let us know in the comments!