In its initial announcement trailer, Pokemon GO promised a number of features that still have yet to make it to the game, like player versus player battling and perhaps above all else, Pokemon trading. Fans have been looking forward to Pokemon trading with the expectation that it will allow them to trade with people overseas to catch region-specific Pokemon, but recent comments by senior product manager Tatsuo Nomura reveal that Pokemon trading will be restricted to local players only.
Nomura made these comments to Polygon while attending this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. When Pokemon GO finally adds Pokemon trading, players will only be able to trade Pokemon with people that they are interacting with in person, meaning that rural players hoping to expand their Pokedex through online trading or people wanting to trade for region-specific Pokemon are out of luck.
“[Trading] won’t be through the internet. You shouldn’t be able to exchange your Pokémon with someone who is 100 miles away from you. The person needs to be in your proximity.”
With the revelation that Pokemon GO‘s trading will be local only, some fans may be less excited about it being added to the game. After all, there were those that were counting on trading to help them fill out their Pokedex, since there aren’t many people that are willing to travel to another continent just to capture all of the region-specific Pokemon in Pokemon GO.
Niantic’s main concern about adding Pokemon trading seems to be that it wants Pokemon GO to remain a game that gets people out of the house and interacting with others in real life. However, there is one way that comes to mind that would allow Niantic to maintain its vision for Pokemon GO while also allowing players to trade with others online.
As a compromise, Niantic could add online trading, but make it so players can only access the feature by visiting designated areas. Perhaps Niantic could add Pokemon Centers to the game that would allow players to trade Pokemon online, as well as heal the Pokemon they have in their roster. Not only would this be a solid compromise for online Pokemon trading, but it would also add a recognizable element of the main game series to Pokemon GO.
Niantic has shown a willingness to incorporate more elements of the main Pokemon series to Pokemon GO with its latest update, which added over 80 second generation Pokemon along with evolution stones that can be used to evolve certain creatures in the game. When Pokemon trading is finally introduced to Pokemon GO, it may come with the restrictions mentioned by Nomura, but there’s no reason Niantic couldn’t add online to it at some point in the future.
Pokemon GO is available now for iOS and Android mobile devices.