Niantic may have just teased Pokemon GO multiplayer gyms. In an interview at GDC 2017, senior product manager Tatsuo Nomura admittedly that the gym portion of the hugely popular mobile game "needs a lot more work" saying that Niantic is "trying to improve it and make a bigger change to how the system works."
One possible way in which gym battles could change is that they could harness the game's status as an MMO (massively multiplayer online game). Saying that Niantic needs to define Pokemon GO gyms in a way that "works for a mobile game," pointing out that there are no NPCs (non-player characters), Nomura explained that "We’re an MMO, and we expect people to play with other people."
In an interview with the German version of Wired, Niantic CEO John Hanke also pointed out that Pokemon GO gyms offer "very limited gameplay" and that the developer plans to "revise this aspect of the game, so that there’s more teamwork and people participating have more incentives and rewards."
Many Pokemon GO players will be ecstatic to hear that Niantic will finally do something about gyms. Designed to be a core component of the game, players have complained that they feel no motivation to attack gyms are also disappointed by the gameplay mechanics of gym battles.
Unfortunately it's unclear exactly when Niantic will get around to rolling out a Pokemon GO gym update. For starters, Nomura said that the developer needs "a little bit more time to think through how we do it," while Niantic is also planning three major updates for the game this year which will also require careful consideration before they are released. At least one of these updates is expected to be Pokemon trading.
And there are smaller issues with the game too that players would also like Niantic to address. These include the game's GPS drifting problem (something which also affects players ability to take on gyms) and the seemingly everlasting cries for more Pokemon as well as additional gameplay items and more. The developer only has so much time and resources, true, but players will be hoping for some results sooner rather than later if they are too continue playing the game.
Pokemon GO is available on iOS and Android.