Nearly two years after the game's initial launch, and Pokemon GO is finally adding a feature that has been long-requested by fans. The friends feature, which will let Pokemon GO players add people to their friends list for various rewards, is now live in the game for level 40 players.
Some Pokemon GO fans may be wondering why the friends feature is only live for level 40 players right now, and there's a simple reason. Niantic typically does this for all the new features it adds to Pokemon GO, as both a way to reward those who are most dedicated to the popular mobile game, and to better test features before they're available to everyone. However, those lower than level 40 shouldn't have to wait too much longer to access the feature for themselves, as it's expected to be available to everyone this weekend.
The friends feature should add an extra layer of gameplay to Pokemon GO, and ultimately, it will help players better complete their Pokedex. The friends feature is tied to Pokemon trading, as players can increase their friendship level with other players, which will allow them to complete trades for less stardust. For example, players can trade legendary Pokemon to each other for a whopping 1 million stardust, but those who are "best friends" can make the same trade for a mere 40,000 stardust.
The friends feature also introduces some other new elements to the Pokemon GO gameplay experience. For example, players will start earning gifts from PokeStops that can be sent to friends as a way to increase their friendship level. These gifts contain special 7km eggs that can be hatched into Alolan Pokemon, which are variants of select first-generation Pokemon first introduced in the Pokemon Sun and Moon games.
With the introduction of the friends feature and Pokemon trading, Niantic is finally delivering on promises that were made in Pokemon GO's announcement trailer. Level 40 players can test the friends feature out right now, and other Pokemon GO players should expect to see the feature go live in their game within the next few days.
Pokemon GO is out now for iOS and Android mobile devices.