This ability to trade Pokemon with other players was notably missing from the game upon launching earlier this month, as noted by fans who have been playing the series for years. For a game that already encourages being social, in theory being able to trade Pokemon with fellow players will only add to that.
It’s unclear at this time whether this trading feature will require players to meet up in real life, or if it will be possible to trade Pokemon over the Internet. If the latter is the case, it would make it much easier for gamers to finally acquire some of the region specific Pokemon; species like Mr. Mime and Farfetch’d are only available in certain areas of the world.
As a possible hint towards how trading might eventually work, players may recall that there actually was a trading function present for the game’s beta. This allowed gamers to send an in-app trading request to others, but they had to be in close proximity to one another. There was no option to trade over the Internet, though it’s entirely possible Niantic will add this feature for the final version.
Interestingly, however, not all Pokemon players believe that adding the trading feature is such a good idea. Many point to the fact that because the game is so much more popular than any other Pokemon installment, and because it is based entirely online unlike previous entries, it’s likely that players will abuse the system or begin trading Pokemon for real money.
Some are also concerned that some of the fun and magic of the game will be lost when basically anyone, regardless of skill level, can simply buy the rarest Pokemon if they’re willing to spend enough money.
“It removes so much value, along with that euphoric feeling of accomplishment, in actually grinding out to finish the Pokedex when a low level trainer can do it faster than you just because they’re willing to spend money to cheat their way through,” one Reddit user wrote.
Others have expressed concern that bot systems might be developed to automatically scour an area, catch all the rare Pokemon, and sell them online.
Many suggestions have been made by hardcore fans about how to implement a system of trading that doesn’t ruin the game, including requiring trades to be done face-to-face or requiring Pokemon to be traded for similarly-leveled Pokemon. Still, with the presence of GPS spoofing, even the former solution could likely be bypassed by hackers attempting to make money off the game.
It’s unclear at this time when trading will be added, but fans probably should not expect it anytime before the end of the summer. At the moment, the priority for Niantic is fixing the game’s various bugs, such as the widespread problem whereby every Pokemon appears to be three footprints away. Niantic also needs to ensure that the servers are more stable, as these have been consistently crashing over the past few weeks. Once the game is back up and running to full capacity, the company will presumably begin releasing upgrades.
In addition to trading, Niantic also said at Comic Con they hope to add the ability to customize Poke Stops.