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While Pokemon Go might be losing players over the last two months, it stemmed some of the loss with the release of its buddy system. While a neat addition, it was certainly not on anyone’s list of “Most needed features.” However, Pokemon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara told the Wall Street Journal that Niantic is getting close to releasing a direct player-vs-player battle system. The company hopes that this will rope in players back into the augmented reality world, but hopefully still keeps them out of government facilities.
Ishihara was confident that this was the core feature that players have been yearning for. “Battling is a category that we do best at Pokemon, after all…It’s important to really carefully consider any feature that may increase the difficulty and raise the barrier to entry for more casual users.”
The concern is warranted, as it is not too hard to imagine that the majority of Niantic’s app users are not into the hardcore competitive-style of Pokemon. There is cause of concern because of there was and still is a rampant use of bots to take gyms and level up Pokemon. There isn’t even any real competitive goal at the moment–what could happen if there was?
Niantic’s Archit Bhargava made previous comments about the status of personal Pokemon battles. He said that they are “trying our best to rethink what the experience should be; what that real-world Pokemon experience should be like. Obviously we’re learning from Ingress, but it’s going to be a pretty different game. We have a vision for Pokemon, we’re gonna execute on it, but we’re gonna learn based on what the community reaction is.”
Ishihara had also commented on the popularity of the mobile app, saying that it was “10…or even 100 times bigger than we expected.” He was mentioned that cause a surge in the core game sales, as well as TCG sales.