It’s fair to say Pokemon GO has created a firestorm of interest from hardcore and casual gamers alike.
Not since 1997 has Pokemon taken over the cultural fabric of the world. Gamers, families, late-night talk-show hosts, business owners and more, all have Pokemon on the brain. Pokemon GO is at the very forefront of the entertainment world. But it’s a mobile game and as any gaming enthusiast will tell you, the attach rate of mobile games can go from very strong to non-existent almost overnight. So what can Niantic and the Pokemon Company do to keep their mobile gem around for the long term? We happen to have a few ideas.
1) Trainer to Trainer Battling
At San Diego Comic Con, player to player trading was announced as a future feature. That’s definitely a major addition for anyone looking to catch ’em all, but what about those who are more particular to the combat side of the Pokemon experience. While going from gym to gym and testing your mettle is a great experience, there’s still something missing.
Adding trainer to trainer battles would do a lot to up the ante. This wouldn’t be a battle anyone from the around the world, but kept localized so that when another trainer is in your vicinity you can challenge them to a battle pitting your best versus theirs. Options for 1v1, 2v2 or even a full 6v6 matchup could also spruce up the game. This type of battling would finally achieve the familiar phrase from the game of “if two trainers eyes meet, they have to battle.”
2) Second Generation Pokemon
As beloved as the original 151 are, there’s arguably an equal amount of love for the Johto region Pokemon that make up the second generation. This is an absolute must add as the game progresses and since there are already reports of trainers collecting near every available Pokemon to the Pokedex, the timetable for their release might need to be moved up.
So here’s an idea for the announcement. Do the whole thing in secret. Release a tiny batch of code that adds Togepi to list of available Pokemon that can be hatched from a 10k egg. As soon as a trainer hatches the egg it is guaranteed to blow up on social media. One week later put out an announcement that the next generation of Pokemon are available as of the newest update. Instant Pokemon fandom and a return of players to the game.
Who wouldn’t be excited to see a Togepi hatch from an egg?
3) Pokemon Sun and Moon Release
This is a pretty obvious one, but there’s no way they should release Pokemon Sun and Moon without also releasing the new Pokemon to Pokemon GO. Due out Nov. 18, 2016, Sun and Moon are part of the seventh generation of Pokemon games (excluding re-releases) and is arguably the Pokemon Company’s best chance of hitting new sales records for the series. Tapping into both Sun and Moon, and Pokemon GO’s fanbases would generate crossover interest — meaning increased sales for the Sun and Moon games, and a greater longevity for Pokemon GO.
4) Day/Night Cycles
One of the most interesting features of the Gold and Silver generation of Pokemon games were the day/night cycles. Having certain Pokemon appear only at night was a nifty way to differentiate how a person played the game. Want to catch a Hoothoot (a personal favorite) then make time in the evening to crank up the game and wander through the grass.
The same ideas already exist in Pokemon GO, they just need some tweaking. Location is already a major factor in determining which Pokemon you can catch whenever you fire up the app, but time of day should also play a more significant factor. Add in dusk and dawn to the time cycle, when it’s the hottest part of the day have additional fire and ground type Pokemon appear, whereas in the early morning maybe you’ll see additional grass and flying types. The day/night cycle is a great idea, but there’s more that can be done to improve the experience.
5) Offline Minigames
There’s still many things Niantic (makers of Pokemon GO) have to figure out as the weeks and months progress. But one of the weakest elements of the game is that there is nothing that can be done offline. In order to do anything in game you have to be connected to Niantic’s servers and that’s just not always an option depending on how geographically challenged you may be at the time. In addition, the drain on a device’s battery life has simply made playing Pokemon GO a brief experience.
I’m not saying they should make it so that Pokemon GO can be played offline, that’s completely unrealistic. But adding an element that is available offline, in the form of a minigame would be a welcomed addition. You can even tie it back to the main game where completing minigame daily challenges rewards you with extra stardust or straight CP that you can add to the Pokemon of your choice. It’s just one more element they can add to extend the lifespan of Pokemon GO.
Like Pokemon Shuffle, just fold the two together or something.
So those are the ideas. Niantic and the Pokemon Company have a winner on their hands, but it’s about maintaining momentum and not just creating it. In time we’ll probably see every generation of Pokemon make it’s way to the Pokemon GO platform, we just also have to hope that people are still playing the game at that point.
Like our ideas, have better ones? Let us know about them in the comments section below!
All images courtesy of the Pokemon Company.