The Four Features Pokemon Go Needs To Add If They Want To Stay Hot Past Summer Sixteen
Pokemon Go is the hottest thing in the world right now. From the rocket ship growth to Presidential candidates hosting rallies at Pokestops, this is the summer of Pokemon. But stars that burn bright, burn out just as quickly. And like other hot games before, unless Pokemon bakes in more native social features, it will come and go once the summer is over.
I think there are four things that can take Pokemon from the phenomenon it is right now to a long term staple on people’s homescreen. They are Friending, Messaging, Trading and Battling (Friends).
Friending — I have a ton of friends that play Pokemon. I play Pokemon. I’d love to be able to be able to be-friend them on the platform. In a similar fashion to friending someone on Facebook. The difference here is it would be AMAZING if I could also see them on the map when they are playing. Obviously privacy issues aside (and maybe opting to show always, sometimes, or never) this would be an terrific social feature that would encourage getting together IRL.
Messaging — Closely connected to Friending is Messaging or Chat. There are some third-party apps to do this but it needs to be natively in the app. I think you swipe to the left and your chats pop open. I think the ability to message your friends is needed but also messaging other players in your geographic area could be cool as well.
Trading — The feature that everyone wants is trading Pokemon. This would add a layer to the game that would encourage more social activity and help people get Pokemon they can’t travel to or find.
Battling Friends — If they added the ability to battle outside of Gyms, specifically with friends, that would be one of the best things they can do for helping make the game last. The biggest challenge is getting out and going to the local “Gym,” so being able to battle friends (I think they need to make it that those friends need to be nearby to battle), would be a good balance.
Adventures / Hunts / Challenge / Missions / Treasure Maps — Combining some of the best features of games like World of Warcraft, Destiny, RDR, and more with real-world + Pokemon would be epic. Having weekly challenges or missions that require you to take friends and DO something (i.e. climb a mountain, battle some gatekeepers, etc, 2 hours upstate in NYC) to catch a rare Pokemon would be next level for social + game-play.
Ability To Join Team Rocket — That would be fun.
Long story short, if I’m the product manager for Pokemon Go, I am doing everything I can to have a big release in September with all or most of these features in place.