Since Pokemon GO launched, developer Niantic has already teased some social features for the game in order to increase interactivity. While Hanke and Niantic have yet to fully outline these Pokemon GO social features, it seems that the company is planning something big on that front.
Niantic has now acquired a company called Evertoon, which specializes in "mobile products, tools for creativity, and community building." In a post on the Niantic website, Hanke writes that the company "couldn’t be more pleased to welcome a great group of people who will help evolve, challenge and grow our company in new ways."
Founded in 2014 by Niniane Wang, the Evertoon team has been "exploring innovative ways to add social mechanics to digital products," writes Hanke. As Niantic's "products and platform evolve, they will help build social systems that will benefit our entire community."
It's unclear exactly what Evertoon is working on for Niantic and Pokemon GO specifically, but the company's previous creations may provide some hints. Evertoon's prior accomplishments include an app that allows people to create 3D avatars of themselves.
Pokemon GO does let players customize their characters, but this feature is incredibly limited. At most, players can equip items such as special hats introduced during in-game events. Many players would agree that there is a lot of room for improvement.
Using Evertoon's emoji expressions as a foundation, Pokemon GO players could edit their characters to have a grinning face when they've successfully completed an EX raid, or even a sad face when they have failed to capture a legendary Pokemon. These wouldn't necessarily allow players to build a community but it would let them have some fun.
Whatever Niantic does with Evertoon's knowledge and experience, the company will have to be careful when it comes to Pokemon GO's social features. When it was reported that Pokemon GO had been used to influence United States politics, Niantic highlighted the fact that these campaigns for its game were spread across social media.
The introduction of social features would have to account for bad behavior - including spam and abuse - which could also cause havoc in a game as popular as this. These social features aren't set to be released until 2018, though, so the Pokemon GO team has some time to figure it all out.
Pokemon GO is out now on Android and iOS.