Two years after release, publisher Niantic finally announced that trading and friends lists will be coming to Pokemon GO.
It's a feature players sorely missed from the main Pokemon series, which has traditionally let two players exchange Pokemon. Back in July 2016, Niantic CEO John Hanke told Business Insider that "it's kind of a core element". Yet it wasn't until E3 last week when a Pokemon GO developer described the game's upcoming trading feature.
Trading in Pokemon GO will only work locally, within 100m of another player. "We needed to take into account how to introduce trading into this game where exploration and exploring new places is core to the game balance. We didn't want to mess with that," said Pokemon GO developer Kristen Koa at a Niantic lunch.
Here's how Niantic describes trading in their press release:
Trainers will earn the Candy of the Pokemon received in trading, and that bonus can increase if the Pokemon traded were caught in locations far apart from each other. The Friendship level between players trading Pokemon will provide unique bonuses including Stardust discounts. Higher Friendship levels between Trainers will unlock the Special Trades option, which includes the ability to trade certain Pokemon, such as regional Pokemon, Legendary Pokemon and Shiny Pokemon, and add new Pokemon to their Pokedexes. Trainers who require parental approval and registration through the Pokemon Trainer Club to play Pokemon GO will be unable to trade with other Trainers in the game.
Niantic also announced that Pokemon GO will get a "friends" feature, which will grant players bonuses the more they play together. Players can only add friends by using each other's "trainer codes", something that might sound familiar to Nintendo Switch owners. That's meant to keep it "safe and deliberate," said Koa.
After adding a friend, players will receive bonuses such as Stardust discounts and special Pokemon trading depending on their friendship level, which improves when players fight at Gyms, do raid battles, or send gifts to each other.
Pokemon GO's "friends" feature should arrive later this week while trading will roll out sometime this winter.