The Pokemon Go buddy system is beginning to roll out around the world, and we’re now learning much more about how the new feature works.
In this updated version of the game, players can choose one Pokemon in their Pokedex to be their “buddy.” This Pokemon will now appear next to your avatar at all times, and it will walk with you throughout the game. Aside from forming a connection with one Pokemon like Ash and Pikachu, the other benefit is that by walking certain distances in the game, you earn candy rewards. That candy can then be used to evolve your Pokemon.
But it’s important to note that making a Pokemon your buddy does mean that it has to stick with you throughout the game. Therefore, you can not place your buddy at a gym as a defender.
However, you can still use your buddy Pokemon to battle in gyms; you just can’t use it to defend one, as this would separate the player from their buddy, and the idea is that you’ll be with it at all ties.
The Pokemon Go buddy system is rather new, not even hitting app stores for the majority of players yet. For that reason, everyone is still getting a handle on how it works, and a lot of questions remain. For example, some players have reported to receive multiple candies through one walk with a buddy Pokemon, with the game telling them that their buddy “found” the candy. However, it is not yet known how this works.
For more information about the buddy system, here is a chart breaking down each Pokemon into categories based on how far you have to walk to earn its candy: