Since it was released last summer, “Pokémon Go” has become a cultural phenomenon and generated an estimated $1 billion for the game’s creator, Niantic Labs.
But early server issues, a string of buggy updates, and the delay of promised new features have since caused “Pokémon Go” to sink down the App Store’s charts.
Niantic has managed to stoke renewed interest in the game with holiday promotions, but its core fans are still waiting on two big features: Pokémon trading and player vs. player battles.
Luckily, Niantic CEO John Hanke confirmed that both features are indeed “going to be done soon” in a recent interview with Waypoint. Hanke revealed that creature trading and player-to-player battles would have already been released if it weren’t for the game’s early server strains.
An excerpt from Waypoint’s interview with Hanke:
Servers continued to struggle as millions went out chasing Pokémon; but Hanke stresses that launching in the summer of 2016, before every feature was truly ready, was “probably the right thing to do.” But the patching and bug-fixing of those first few months did stall the work on other parts of the app that Niantic had considered essential — and still does.
These include monster trading and player-versus-player battles. These are on the way, says Hanke, who adds that if the servers hadn’t been so sketchy at launch, at least one of them would already be out there, likewise a gym battle system, supplementing what he feels is a “rudimentary” version of the game they envisioned.
“It’s going to be done soon,” he says. “It is what it is. I’ll take the massive wave of hysteria we enjoyed, and just deal with the fact that it’s caused us to take a bit longer to get the rest of the features up. We’re really happy to make our users happy.”
Hanke also confirmed that Niantic still plans to do host real-world events that correlate with the game, which means that players will eventually be able to catch ultra-rare Pokémon like Mewtwo and the three ‘Legendary’ birds. “Pokémon Go” recently unleashed several new creatures from the second generation of the original Pokémon game, but there are dozens that still haven’t been put into the wild.