“Pokémon Go,” the smash-hit iPhone and Android game that lets you catch ’em all in real life, is only a few days old.
But developer Niantic, which spun out of Google/Alphabet in late 2015, is already thinking about what’s next in the weeks and months to come, says CEO John Hanke.
All in all, it sounds like “Pokémon Go” is getting some deeper gameplay mechanics that will encourage players to stick around longer.
And for fans of the classic “Pokémon” games, there’s one forthcoming feature that stands above the rest: The ability to trade your hard-collected Pokémon with friends and strangers.
“It’s kind of a core element,” Hanke says.
While he didn’t go into specifics as to how this would work, Hanke says that trading ties in nicely with one of “Pokémon Go’s” core virtues, which is that it encourages players to interact with each other in both the virtual and real worlds. Swapping Pokémon around would foster those kinds of interactions.
Augmented reality improvements
Other new features include more ways to play with Pokéstops and Gyms, the crucial real-life landmarks where players restock on items, gain experience, and battle each other for control.
Right now, they only exist in their “very most basic versions,” Hanke says, but players will be able to “customize their functions in other ways.”
There will also be some kind of global leadership scoreboard for Pokémon players to see who’s the very best, like no one ever was.
Otherwise, Hanke says that there’s going to be improvements to the game’s augmented reality, or AR technology, which uses your phone’s camera to make it look like Pokémon are in your home, on your sidewalk, or riding your bus. He says that this was a “great first step,” but there’s a lot more they can do.
To that end, Hanke also hints that “Pokémon Go” could be coming to dedicated AR devices — the kinds of wearable gadgets exemplified by the failed Google Glass experiment or the Microsoft HoloLens goggles that project images into your field of view.
“That may be a fun thing to take advantage of,” Hanke teases.
With Microsoft HoloLens inching closer to a formal release, and Google said to be working on a new version of Google Glass, “Pokémon Go” could one day leave your phone and go straight to your eyeballs.