Two years after release, publisher Niantic finally announced that trading and friends lists will be coming to Pokémon Go.
It’s a feature players sorely missed from the main Pokémon series, which has traditionally let two players exchange Pokémon. 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 Pokémon Go developer described the game’s upcoming trading feature.
Trading in Pokémon Go will only work locally, within 100 meters 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 Pokémon 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 Pokémon received in trading, and that bonus can increase if the Pokémon traded were caught in locations far apart from each other. The Friendship level between players trading Pokémon 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 Pokémon, such as regional Pokémon, Legendary Pokémon and Shiny Pokémon, and add new Pokémon to their Pokédexes. Trainers who require parental approval and registration through the Pokémon Trainer Club to play Pokemon GO will be unable to trade with other Trainers in the game.
Niantic also announced that Pokémon 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 like Stardust discounts and special Pokémon trading depending on their friendship level, which improves when players fight at Gyms, do raid battles or send gifts to each other.
Pokémon Go’s ‘friends’ feature should arrive later this week while trading will roll out sometime this summer.