Pokemon Go players have been waiting for the ability to trade Pokemon since the mobile game launched last July and developer Niantic has finally offered some details about how the feature will work when it is eventually added to the game.
At the Game Developers Conference this week, senior product manager Tatsuo Nomura confirmed to Polygon that trading “won’t be through the internet.” Instead, “the person needs to be in your proximity.” Nomura went on to explain why trading will be limited to local play only, stating, “you shouldn’t be able to exchange your Pokemon with someone who is 100 miles away from you.” Fair enough.
The problem for Niantic right now is figuring out how to put trading into the game without breaking the experience, as players could easily acquire every Pokemon they’re missing through trades if some sort of restriction isn’t placed on the feature and Nomura acknowledged this dilemma. “We’re still trying to come up with an answer [to trading] that makes sense so it doesn’t kill the game,” he explained. “If we fail this, we can easily kill the game.”
Niantic recently added 80 new Pokemon from the Johto region to Pokemon Go and while this resulted in a 50% increase in use right away, with 12 million people logged in when Generation 2 kicked off on Feb. 12, usage has dropped off significantly and rapidly since then.
The ability to trade Pokemon with other players and finally attain certain elusive Pokemon may be enough to bring lapsed players back, but it’s unclear if Pokemon Go will be able to recapture its initial popularity.
Niantic did not provide a release window for when trading will be added to the game.