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August 7, 2018

‘Pokémon Go’ studio Niantic plans to add trainer battles by the end of the year

by John_A

Pokémon Go has been available on iOS and Android for well over two years at this point, and developer Niantic recently updated it to add trading, which had been a requested feature since the game’s initial launch. Pokémon battles between trainers still aren’t in the game, but it appears that won’t be the case for much longer.

Speaking to Polish publication Gram at an event for its Ingress game in Warsaw, Niantic head of European marketing Anne Beuttenmuller revealed that the team is actively working on a player-versus-player mode right now.

Beuttenmuller stated that Niantic wants to add the mode by “the end of this year,” and that improvements will be continuously made to the trading feature, as well. In order to trade with a friend, you must first add them to your friends list and then meet up in person — you can trade online in the main handheld Pokémon games, but of course that wouldn’t be in the spirit of Pokémon Go.

In late July, Pokémon Go introduced “Lucky” Pokémon, which sparkle on the screen. These require less of the Stardust resource to level up, which allows them to become powerful more quickly than normal monsters. The only way for a Pokémon to become Lucky, however, is to be traded, so you better have a friend who is willing to trade them back. And since you have to do this face-to-face, you could feign a few tears to make them feel bad if they resist.

Ingress and Pokémon Go aren’t the only games Niantic has in the works. The studio is also developing Harry Potter: Wizards Unite, a similar augmented reality game that will send aspiring wizards out into the real world to discover artifacts and beasts, cast spells, and meet famous characters from the books and movies. With any luck, it will be significantly better than this year’s Harry Potter: Hogwarts Mystery. The free-to-play game makes heavy use of microtransactions, which are used in conjunction with timed challenges to create a pretty clear-cut case of “pay to win.” Critics and fans alike have derided it, accusing the game of being little more than a cash grab.

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