Pokémon GO players have walked a total of 4.6 billion kilometers since the game's launch earlier this Summer, according to a recent statement from Niantic CEO, John Hanke. The game has only been out in the U.S. since July which means that in the last eight weeks, those who have downloaded the game and become Pokémon trainers have traveled the same distance that it took NASA's Voyager 2 probe 12 years to complete. Even though 4.6 billion kilometers is a collective distance between the game's entire community of players, that's still a massive amount of distance to cover and it is just one way that it puts into perspective how popular the augmented reality game has really been.
Although the game is popular, recent data from last month suggested that interest in the game from players may be decreasing, as it was stated that players' engagement saw a drop to 60% last month compared to the 100% from the month before when it launched. Taking that into consideration, it's likely that players would have spent more time walking even further distances if the engagement didn't decline. On the same note, it's also likely that engagement could see another uptick once new features are incorporated that might bring the interest back for some players.
Although not confirmed when, Pokémon GO should end up receiving an update which includes some of the more standard features that are part of the original games you can find on Nintendo's consoles, such as trading and player vs player battles. In addition to this, Niantic has already shed light on at least one new exciting feature which could reinvigorate players, and that's the buddy Pokémon that are part of the next new update. As this new feature will allow players to select a buddy Pokémon that can travel alongside them as they explore and obtain candy to help them evolve, players are sure to start heading back out to interact more with the game, which will not only increase the amount of distance that has been traveled, but it could give players just enough to get excited about while they wait for more features to give the game a more well-rounded and robust feel. There's no exact word on the release time frame for the new update just yet, but rumors have had it pegged for today which means it could be hitting in the very near future.