John Hanke, CEO of Pokemon GO developer Niantic, reveals that Pokemon trading will eventually come to the massively popular mobile game in a future update.
While Pokémon GO is already a worldwide phenomenon, reaching the top of the app store almost instantly, most players can agree that the mobile game can improve. More importantly, as developer Niantic reveals, the experience will improve, starting first with Pokémon trading.
Speaking with Business Insider, Niantic CEO John Hanke reveals that Pokémon trading will eventually hit Pokémon GO. In fact, Hanke makes it seem like Pokémon trading was always in the cards for Pokémon GO, saying, "It's kind of a core element."
Unfortunately, Hanke doesn’t say how exactly Pokémon trading will work. Calling to mind the Game Boy days and link cables suggests that two players will need to be in close proximity to trade, but the addition of the Internet could expand the trading much further. That way two friends can swap Pocket Monsters from their respective homes, staying connected despite any distance.
Of course, the idea of Pokémon trading also comes with its potential pratfalls. As with any game where trading is a feature, there is the likelihood of players exploiting the system to keep lower level players out of the fun.
If, say, for example, a high-ranking player wanted to trade extremely strong Pokémon to their friends, they could find a way to dominate all of the gyms in a local town. Since there is a limit to how many gyms a player can occupy at a time, trading could be a clever way to circumvent that and keep a particular team (Valor, Instinct, or Mystic) in control.
Beyond the exploits there is more to consider with Pokémon trading, most especially the inconsistent servers of Pokémon GO. Since the servers are struggling to keep up with the massive and growing player base, the hope is that Niantic can get things under control before introducing trading. The last thing players would want to have happen is to initiate a trade, have the servers drop their connection, and then lose a Pokémon that they carefully upgraded. Hopefully there will be some safe guards in place to prevent that type of occurrence, but worse things have happened with online-focused games.
And then there is the eBay equation to consider, if Pokémon GO trading has no proximity restrictions. What’s to stop a player from selling their high level Pokémon to the top bidder, in essence exploiting the system much in the same way eBay resellers do with MMOs?
There’s obviously a lot to consider with Pokémon GO trading, not the least of which has to do with the fact that this is a game for children. When Niantic does introduce the feature hopefully the studio will have carefully tested it and ensured that it breeds fair competition and doesn’t have too many exploits. For now, though, the rest of the world is still waiting for Pokémon GO to launch in their territory.