The Pokémon Go logo.

Are you still playing Pokémon Go?

When Pokémon Go came out last summer, it was a bonafide hit. There is no denying that. Cardio exercises increased, outdoor exploration skyrocketed and the number of unwanted individuals was many. Everyone, including myself, boarded the hype train and with good reason. The initial concept of Pokémon Go was fun but simple. Go outside, walk around, find and catch new Pokemon. We all bought into the idea because it was free and expected it to evolve over time.

However, that day never really came. Sure the game introduced holiday events and more Pokémon, but those are not the updates we wanted. At least they weren’t the updates that the game needed to maintain its enormous fan base. I, like many others, became disinterested in the game after catching over 1,000 pidgey.  Soon enough, it disappeared from my phone altogether. I’m left thinking about what could’ve been.

The Core of Pokémon

When you think of Pokémon, a couple of core features come to mind:

  • Catching Pokémon
  • Evolving Pokémon
  • Trading
  • Battle

Obviously, the catching and evolving of Pokémon are the game’s two most important features. However, no Pokémongame is complete without the other two. While everyone understood that those couldn’t be delivered upon release, the were expected to come down the line. Instead, Niantic doubled down on more Pokémon to catch.

Now, don’t get me wrong. Adding generation 2 is exciting but it shouldn’t have come before trading and battle. Eventually, people will “catch them all” again and grow tired of the game. Pokémon Go is a game that is meant to be played continuously, and without trading and battle, people have a reason to abandon it.

The reason that these two features are so important is because it introduces player interaction. Even with gym battles, you have no direct contact with other players. You fight a computerized version of the Pokémon they leave behind. It’s a huge missed opportunity to get even the most casual of fans to stick with their game.

Sure, these features could come down the line, but until then, how many people will still be around to play?

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