Pokémon GO, one of the most controversial games of all time, might just see a comeback. The Augmented Reality (AR) game is one of the first of its kind and certainly was marketed as such back in 2016. Using GPS technology, it required players to travel around the world in search of new Pokémon. While this mimicked the hugely popular games and television series, the real-life implications came unexpectedly.
You see, frequent reports of physical injuries, public nuisances, and crowding became inevitable. Some Pokémon were just placed in awkward or dangerous locations, and people sometimes risked their lives reaching them.
As for the game itself, Pokémon GO was a bit of a mixed bag. The game promoted walking around, seen as a plus, but it was rife with technical bugs. Furthermore, the Pokémon franchise largely comprises of (according to the games and shows) three major core components.
Those are capturing wild Pokémon, battling other trainers, and trading your captures. At launch, the game only had the former, and that from a very limited pool of characters. However, it seems the game’s luck is changed for the better now.
The company behind Pokémon GO, Niantic, announced several new features in December
It’s no secret Niantic needs to make up for a falling player base, despite millions of devoted fans. In the past year alone, their game has grown significantly. Niantic recently unveiled a special series on December 2, active until December 8. The ‘Kalos community event‘, as better known, features the addition of several new sprites to unlock. This greatly expands the roster of collectible Pokemon and makes for a new set of challenges. Furthermore, two new community events are scheduled for December 12 and 13.
During this time, players gain the chance to encounter rare and limited-time Pokémon from this year. And, in case they missed any last year, ones from 2019 will also make an appearance. This should lead to some interesting rewards for high-tier raids.
Even more Poké Balls are coming to PokéStops near you!
Trainers, a huge delivery of Poké Balls are coming to Pokémon GO! Keep an eye on your Gifts and local PokéStops for some sweet Poké Ball deliveries – you're gonna need them!
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) December 3, 2020
To facilitate the huge influx of caught Pokémon during and after this period, Niantic has also worked to expand free storage. While the game follows the ‘freemium‘ model, meaning anything above the standard free cap costs money, they previously received criticism for limited storage space. This free cap is now raised to a respectable 4000 spots. Hopefully, this should tide players over for much longer.
Over the past few years, Niantic made several strides to keep their game relevant and full of content
While the Pokémon GO of 2016 lacked much replay value, that no longer holds true. The game is now chock full of objectives and content to explore. These include multiplayer activities like raids with friends, holding records at gyms (designated now by players themselves almost at any landmark) and a raised level cap. Effective January 2021, players can now max out at level 50 instead of the current 40.
Furthermore, an upcoming feature to commemorate this December’s suite of new content, and progress the meta, is Battle Season 6. This new era of Pokémon GO ushers in the changes mentioned above, and further adds 24 ranks to progress through. The competitive Cup titles this year will also bolster player PvP like never before.
Pokemon GO remains one of the best AR titles available
While the initial ambitions of a GPS-based game took a while to become realized, it proved worth the wait. Now, with hundreds of millions of active users, the game should only get more and more popular. Looking at Niantic’s successful formula, it’s easy to see why developers like CD Projekt RED are developing their own AR games.
Stay tuned for more on AR gaming and Niantic!