Niantic CEO Talks Upcoming Pokemon GO Features

A few days after talking about upcoming Pokemon GO features at the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco, Niantic Labs' CEO John Hanke revealed some more info about what can we expect next from the most popular augmented reality (AR) game ever created. During his guest appearance at the Recode Decode podcast, Hanke said that he's "exhausted, but elated" after everything that has been going on with Pokemon GO in the last ten weeks. Namely, Niantic managed to stabilize the game's servers for the time being and is slowly continuing the process of rolling out Pokemon GO worldwide. Despite the fact that a lot of effort goes into finishing the game's rollout, Hanke told Recode's Kara Swisher that the developers know their work has just begun and there's a lot more for them to do in upcoming months.

Hanke said that the team is happy that it has enough breathing room to start being "more thoughtful" about the next big set of Pokemon GO features that it wants to build for the fans. He stressed the importance of releasing continuous updates for the game, adding that's the best way to retain players. As for specific features, Hanke revealed that Niantic is currently hard at work developing in-game events. These events will give incentive to thousands of players to meet and play the game together and will be modeled after in-game events from Ingress, Niantic's previous location-based game. As Hanke revealed, currently the biggest issue in the development of the event mechanic is the fact that the San Francisco studio fears its servers still cannot handle a large number of people that events would potentially draw in.

While many have been speculating that rare Pokemon like Articuno,  Moltres, Zapdos, and Ditto which cannot be caught by legitimate means are being saved for in-game events, Hanke refused to confirm that during the latest episode of Recode Decode. What Niantic's CEO did confirm is that a Pokemon GO trading system is currently in development  and will hopefully launch in the near future. As for player-versus-player (PvP) battles, Hanke described them as something they "talk a lot about internally" at the studio, suggesting that a PvP isn't the team's focus at the moment.

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Dominik Bosnjak

Senior Writer
Dominik started at AndroidHeadlines in 2016. He’s approaching his first full decade in the media industry, with his background being primarily in technology, gaming, and entertainment. These days, his focus is more on the political side of the tech game, as well as data privacy issues, with him looking at both of those through the prism of Android. Contact him at [email protected]