Pokémon GO Is Missing Features Promised In The First Trailer

Pokémon GO Is Missing Features Promised In The First Trailer

When Pokémon GO was announced last September, the amazing trailer promised a game more ambitious than what launched last week. Here’s that trailer, which has been watched a whopping 28 million times:

The Pokémon GO that just launched delivers on the basic premise of going into the world and catching Pokémon . What’s missing are key features that we’ve come to expect from Pokémon games, stuff the trailer promised, too.

We’ve asked the game’s developer, Niantic, about these changes but have yet to hear back.

Where Is Trading?

Pokémon GO Is Missing Features Promised In The First Trailer

There’s no trading in Pokémon GO right now.

In traditional Pokémon games, you virtually travel to different parts of the world to collect new creatures. In Pokémon GO, that’s complicated by the fact that you have to physically travel to accomplish the same task. Sure, hatching eggs is one way to more conveniently expand your Pokédex, but at that pace, you might need to become a marathon runner to pull it off.

Trading is eventually coming to Pokémon GO, thankfully.

“It’s kind of a core element,” said Niantic CEO John Hanke in an interview with Tech Insider.

As of right now, however, there’s no timeline for trading being added.

How Come The Pokémon Don’t Do Very Much?

Here’s what the trailer promised:

Those Pokémon look cool as heck — big, dynamic, fully animated.

Here’s what Pokémon GO actually looks like:

Pokémon GO Is Missing Features Promised In The First TrailerImage Credit: MoreAliA

Image Credit: MoreAliA

Cool, yes, but not quite as cool. Thankfully, the developer told Tech Insider that it’s a “great first step” they intend to improve upon.

Where Are Player vs Player Fights?

Combat is limited in Pokémon GO right now; players can only fight it out using gyms tied to various landmarks. Though you are fighting Pokémon left behind by other players, it’s not a real-time battle between players.

The trailer, however, suggests something like that. It’s unlikely Pokémon GO will adopt the same mechanical depth as Pokémon Sun and Moon later this year, but there’s room to grow.

“The multiplayer aspect is still something we’re exploring, we’re still trying to figure out what’s the best way to do that” Niantic head of product marketing Archit Bhargava told GameSpot. “So far we’ve learned that multiplayer battles are a lot of fun. When two people from different teams show up at a rival gym, if they collaborate and both have their Pokémon deployed to battle at the same time, they can take down a stronger gym faster.”

(I saw a group of kids doing exactly this at a park near me last night.)

Bhargava said the community would help shape where multiplayer goes. It’s possible that player vs player combat simply wasn’t ready in time for the game’s release date, but it seems like we can expect more eventually.

But again, like trading, there’s no release date for expanded multiplayer.

Where Are Group Battles?

Pokémon GO Is Missing Features Promised In The First Trailer

The most exciting part of the Pokémon GO trailer, one that still gives me chills, is when thousands gathered in New York’s Times Square to collectively pitch their most powerful Pokémon at the powerful Mewtwo.

There’s nothing like that in the game that’s playable right now. There is an item called the “lure”, which temporarily summons Pokémon to where you’re currently located. This impacts other players around you, too!

Unfortunately, it’s only about catching Pokémon, not fighting them.

It’s not clear when — or if — we’ll see something like this implemented.


  • Ingress has been undergoing development for 3 years. Calm your tits people. It’s coming.

    As for big battles, we’ll probably get a handful of them a year around the world much like Ingress anomalies. This company has done ALL this stuff before. Nintendo, Google and The Pokemon Company didn’t just give tens of millions of dollars to some unknown, unproven developer.

        • Bit of a moot point given that you’re already providing all of your data to Google to begin with.

          • Yeah definitely, just don’t think it’s enough of a good experience to part with that information a second time or be silently approving of it. Google maps, gmail, etc, they may take my data, but I get super useful and helpful things from it. I say this because I like Pokemon; Pokemon Go isn’t very good (yet).

          • I think his point is that Niantic is basically a sub division of Google.

            If they want that information they can already get it to be honest.

          • I guess i was the only one who created a google account just to use pokemon go

          • They used to be a somewhat independent company within Google still. They are now a fully independent company, not within Google. I think Google has invested in them somewhat though.

          • They’re still owned by alphabet who owns Google but you’re right they run independently.

            I just believe if they wanted to get that information they could and nobody would know any better. The permissions thing I do think was an honest oversight.

          • @zimmy Niantic’s own blog, news page and wikipedia both disagree with you. Niantic is independent. Please state any source that they are under alphabet.

          • It’s not ‘taking’ the data. They have the ability too but they have no reason to. Can you imagine the shitstorm if they actually did? They are rolling out an update that asks for the correct permissions soon/now. It was a massive fuck up, no doubt, but it is not some sinister thing.

            And if you use Android, no worries!

          • They have every reason to do it, selling information is huge business for Google and many other companies. (Reward cards etc)
            Sure, it’s not exactly sinister, but some people find the idea a little strange and even invasive.

            Then you have the question of the various studies that companies run parallel to their products. The famous Facebook studies where they manipulated feeds to see if they could change mood.
            OKCupid changing it’s system to hook up people who weren’t compatible to see if they would change their personality because they believed they were.
            Google is no stranger to these types studies too and one of the first things I wondered was if they were tracking to see if they can make people travel to particular spots.

            I also see Google being able to “sell” services to businesses. For example a shopping centre paying for rare Pokemon to be available in their stores.
            (I noticed a huge surge of Pokemon at my local mall and wondered if it was due to a large player population, or perhaps purposeful design.)

            No need to throw your phone away and make a tin foil hat, but it happens and is always interesting to follow.

          • Firstly – Google and Niantic are separate companies.

            Secondly – Niantic’s privacy terms don’t mention them reading your emails and scanning your documents in Google Drive and selling the data. If this was going on without any disclosure at all, all hidden from the user, the backlash would be insane and would greatly outweigh any information they would get before it was made public and they were forced to stop. Not to mention the fact that they CANNOT access it.

            Thirdly – Tracking to see if they can make people go to certain spots? Well yes, you can, they are called Pokestops. There is no useful information to be gleaned from this however as it’s completely artificial. They are going there only because a Pokestop is there. 99% of the Pokestops are player submitted anyway, so not something they have a great deal of influence over.

            It’s been theorised that Pokemon are more likely to appear in highly visited areas. Most likely this information was gleaned from some sort of heat map from Google location services or something similar. It was used in Ingress for placing XM.

            Based on on Ingress we may see promotions where a chain of stores will get a Pokestop at each one or we may see some sort of branded item, think a Woolworths Essence that will have some sort of effect. I’m thinking at least the latter won’t happen as Nintendo probably aren’t on board with that.

          • I see a lot of arguments like this, especially regarding gun-control in the US. They say often “we need these guns in case the Government done did a bad thing!” Ignoring how futile that battle would be, it fundamentally misunderstands how a supervised, big brother-esque society is born. It isn’t in one or two giant evil moves that create “shitstorms”, it’s with the subtle and slow erosion of our rights to privacy. What the people in America don’t realise, is that their government and big business are already misusing their power, every day, in countless small and large overreaches into their lives. Same thing in Australia of course, and every other first world country, but it’s not quite as bad yet.

            I don’t say this as someone who is a conspiracy theorist or even more than mildly interested in this very topic, I say it as someone who’s just thinking about this in a rational way. To shrug off this stuff, like games aimed at children (despite the playerbase largely being 20-somethings) as data they have already, or data that won’t be misused, is the exact sort of apathy they’re counting on. Somewhere somebody in a suit is looking at all this data, looking at how pokestop / gym locations draw people to them, etc. and rubbing their hands together with glee and anticipation. And if they aren’t, then think of how this information could be misused by the (other) wrong sort of people who might find a way to access that data.

          • This game is not aimed at children. Children do not typically have thousand dollar personal computing devices and can wander around freely.
            This is squarely aimed at adults who grew up with Pokemon and have disposable income/time.

            No one anywhere is looking at the personaldata and rubbing their hands with glee. First off, Niantic CANNOT collect the data. They do not have any access to it. And Google themselves confirmed that they have not been able to access it.

            Obviously they can track locations, that is kind of the point of the game. Please tell my your theory of how you can get rich or make a cent doing this? It doesn’t actually provide any useful data as people are directly being influenced by the tool being used to measure it. They might go to a few close points, see a lure in the distance and head off in that direction or wander over to some rustling grass or just wander in circles trying to work out where that dratini that is 3 footprints away is.

            It’s like wanting to study teenage behaviour at school. So you hire a camera guy, a sound guy and a lighting guy who follow one teenager around all day. You will not get clean data, you are influencing it.

            Now lets look at someone nefarious getting this data. Wow, someone knows that last night I walked through park, then walked around a block, then walked back and forth in another park, then stopped for 20 minutes on a bench then the data stops. Data about me walking around in public. Scary. They might even be able to work out where my car was parked!

          • @darren

            Have you seen a child out with their parents in the last… say, 5 years??? They all have iphones / ipads and they are all glued to them while their parents are drinking coffee somewhere. No product ever targeting children has made the ridiculous assumption that the kids are gonna front the money for it. Don’t be naive.

            You’re also thinking about it the wrong way around. They are going to look at that data, and then try and manipulate the behaviour based on that data, say, changing pokestop locations to be businesses that pay for this entirely new way of advertising. Getting people to come to the stores because that’s where the pokemon are.

            Then imagine people hacking or manipulating these Pokestop locations (a long shot I admit) to change the location of one to be near a place where they can either rob or abduct people. There have already been reported incidents of people getting robbed because people just posted up at a pokestop and waited because they knew people were gonna come there. They don’t even really need to change the pokestops.

            Again, this is all stuff I don’t really feel strongly about at all. it probably won’t ever happen. I just think you’re being wilfully ignorant of the ways this app and data can be misused, by both the people in charge and the people externally trying to take advantage of it.

          • @geometrics

            No, I haven’t seen all these kids with their own devices. Often using their parents from time to time to keep the quiet. But even then, no parent is going to let a kid have their phone and wander around freely. From my own experiences playing, I have seen probably 100 adults playing and 1 kid playing with both parents in tow.

            There is a really good chance that businesses will be able to sponsor pokestops. They had that in Ingress. So there will be a few extra places where I can tap and spin as I walk past. Again, not really sinister. I’m not going to go out of my way for a few pokeballs when I can continue down the street past 10 other pokestops. I never entered a store that had a sponsored Ingress portal either. If I’m in a long game session, why would I stop and randomly start shopping?
            If I happen to be shopping there and know it I may open the app for a spin.

            I’m not even going to respond to the hysterical hacking claims.

          • @darren Again, not hysterical, I don’t really care. Just exploring all the “what ifs” of this situation, and some are not very chill.

          • @geometrics

            Well we pretty clearly disagree with each other. Let’s leave it there then?

        • you can revoke the the permissions in your google account, in the mean time grab yo tin foil hate

  • I would like them to promise to drop the spawn rate on some types or randomise the spawns in areas over time… my whole area is a friggen Zubat colony at 51% of all pokemon being zubat.

    • With the amount of Zubat I find around the place, it makes me think they are winking at it. I mean come on, Mt Moon was full of the buggers!!!!

    • Interesting, because for me personally I catch at least 1.5 doduos for every other pokemon I catch. This is in Sydney, is it possible each area has one common pokemon at ridiculous levels? I’ve caught maybe 4-5 zubat and I’m level 12.

    • Pidgy is the pest of my area, only found a few Zubats

      There is also a Rattata that lives in the lane behind my house. When ever I pull in to the drive after work, POW!!, there he is.

  • probably worth noting that its still V0.29.0
    Give it time 😛 I share your frustration too

  • I can’t get on the hype train for this. Sure I load it up every now and then and play, but honestly – It’s Ingress with the Pokemon branding currently.

    I would much rather have waited for the extra features to be in before receiving the game.

  • I watched that last gif about ten times but I didn’t realise it was in a loop.

    How would a group takedown of a Mewtwo/etc work? I can kinda see enough people sending in ringers to take down a mammoth health bar, but doesn’t sound enough.

    Actually, the Real Steel/Robot Wars/Big Hero 6 sorta thing could be where we see the next AR craze. The potential for an esports off-shoot there is astounding.

    Killer Mike and his fearsome champion Destruktor versus Iron Jack and his up-and-coming challenger Steven.

    • Digimon. Else you would see a Marvel ARG before anything else given the success of Marvel IP did to thePuzzle Quest game series.

      Problem is a big IP like Pokemon is first, its cute flashy appeals to generations and is a strong franchise to expand on.

      Any ARG following this is already way behind technologically and finacially let alone have such an appealing IP.

  • 1. As you said, trading is coming
    2. The pokemon don’t do much in the trailer either, they’re just more integrated into the real world in the footage, which we all knew was bull the first time they showed the trailer
    3. Whatever they’re doing PvP in the trailer looks like a mess, and again the article states it’s something that’s being looked into.
    4. Group battle events? Are you serious? It’s been out barely a week, and they haven’t got the servers under control and you expect them to have big events already?

    @darren said it best: Calm your tits

  • Its not the promises…
    or the fact its still in development..

    Given their connection with Google the mecca of data analytics, how are they acting surprised of the demand their game has. People lost their collective minds when google made ut a joke all those years ago, you produce the real thing and act like your market tesearch people fell asleep at the wheel.

    Dont promise things you wont deliver Day Zero.
    If your beta testing the game before release, do a stress test too.
    Have a customer support and community plans in place before go live.
    Have a plan to get more respurces for your product… people, servers etc… if ypu exceed demand.

    Niantic is not running some small mobile game like Ingress, its Pokemon, die hard fans, casual gamers, small children and nervous parents.

    • Do you not understand just how big Pokemon Go has gone? More daily active users than TWITTER. There was no way they could predict popularity like that, it’s amazing the servers cope with it as well as they do.

      Wait and see if they release metrics on how many users signed up the first day/week it will break all gaming records and make the 2nd place look like an ant.

      • The April fools day joke had 18 million views.
        The Pokemon Go announcement trailer had 29 million views. (Currently)

        I am saying that Google should of had traffic data from youtube, bloggs, media, social interest to have some idea. This was never going to be a small game it had all the right elements to be gang busters from Day Zero.

        The lack of planning to anticipate this reaction, or pick up this reaction and go with the opportunity, seems short sighted for Google or Nintendo. Given the player numbers on recent AAA games that have a multiplatform fan base like Hearthstone or Fallout Shelter and the mobile premium market like Candy Crash they should of had some idea to predict 10 million downloads in less than a week.

  • Anyone that watched that trailer and thought the game would be exactly the same is deluded.

    Ask for your money back….. oh wait.

  • you all know this isnt the release product right? this is like a beta or a soft launch, what we have right now. it pretty much says it every where.

  • Real time battles won’t happen. Otherwise there might be real life fisticuffs between people upset that their sodomite Pikachu was bested

  • this game just went live, i dont know any game that went smoothly when it first launched. I think this game is doing pretty f…… well so far considering its a base game.
    Give it a month or so and things will start getting better

  • You can already simultaneously attack at a gym. You can see your team mates Pokemon in the arena all attacking at the same time. Literally just did this.

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