Pokémon GO Game Offers Friends, Gifting, Trading Features

posted on by Jennifer Sherman
Friends feature debuts this week

Niantic announced on Monday that its Pokémon GO game will add friends, gifting, and trading features. The friends feature will launch this week, and the other features will launch soon. Niantic software engineer Kirsten Koa confirmed additional details about the new features at a press event at E3.

Players will be able to become friends to use the new features via Trainer Codes. Four friendship levels will be available: Good Friend, Great Friend, Ultra Friend, Best Friend. The levels of friendship will allow players to access certain new features and receive various bonuses depending on the level. Friendship level will be able to increase once per day as friends send gifts, trade, and battle with each other.

Players will receive gifts from PokéStops and Gyms, which they will be able to send to friends. Gifts will include postcards from the PokéStops or Gym that they are from, as well as various items. The items may include special Eggs that will hatch into Alolan Pokémon.

In order to trade, friends must have a minimum player level of 10 and be within 100 meters of each other. Players will have to be at least 13 years old to trade. Trades will require Stardust, and the amount of Stardust required will decrease as players' friendship levels increase. Certain Pokémon, such as Legendary Pokémon, Shiny Pokémon, or Pokémon not currently in a player's Pokédex, will require a Special Trade. Players will only be able to make one Special Trade per day. Players will receive bonus Candy for trades, with more Candy awarded if the traded Pokémon were caught far apart. The HP and CP of traded Pokémon will reset, and players with a higher friendship level will be more likely to receive stronger Pokémon.

Niantic will hold various "Summer Tour" events this summer. The Pokémon GO Fest event will return to Chicago, Illinois under the title "Pokémon GO Fest 2018: A Walk in the Park" on July 14-15. A Safari Zone event will be held in Dortmund, Germany from June 30 to July 1. Similar events will also be held in Yokosuka, Japan in late summer. Players around the world will be able to receive in-game bonuses related to the events.

Pokémon GO players will be able to transfer Pokémon to GAME FREAK's upcoming Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! games. The new Poké Ball Plus peripheral will function with both Pokémon GO and the new Nintendo Switch games. Pokémon: Let's Go, Pikachu! and Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! are slated for the Nintendo Switch on November 16.

The Pokémon GO app launched in select countries including the United States in July 2016, and the game surpassed 800 million downloads as of May 29. Analytics company App Annie reported in October 2016 that the game had earned US$600 million in less than 90 days. App Annie also reported in January 2017 that the game had earned US$950 million in 2016.

Sources: Pokémon GO's website, The Mainichi Shimbun's Mantan Web, IGN (Andrew Goldfarb)

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