What new features are coming to Pokémon Go in 2017? Gen 2, new Gym system, Player vs. Player, and perhaps trading and more!

Updated April 26, 2017: John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, gave a talk where he touched on what's coming next.

Pokémon Go launched in the summer of 2016 and has been updated regularly ever since. From Buddies to bonus streaks, we've been getting new features roughly every three months. So, what does 2017 hold for Pokémon Go? Gen 2 launched in the first quarter, so that leaves the new Gym system, PvP, and maybe even trading for the rest of the year!

New: Major change to spawns | Next Pokémon Go Event | Shiny Pokémon

Hot: Best Power-Ups | Where to find rares | Catch bonuses

Guides: Pokémon Go tips + tricks | Pokémon Go cheats

April 26, 2017: John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon Go developer, Niantic, talks what's coming next

The CEO of Niantic, the developer behind Pokémon Go, recently spoke at a high school and a couple of Reddit members were kind enough to share what he said.

From The Silph Road's summary:

  • Said he can't give any secret information on Pokemon GO (but proceeded to confirm a few things)
  • "We are working on improving gym battles."
  • Will probably be some way to release legendary Pokemon "in the not so distant future"
  • The other feature that we know people want and that we will be working on and send out "pretty soon" is letting you battle one on one with other people. (woot!)
  • Acknowledged that some Pokemon haven't appeared in-game yet due to their "special moves." He didn't name Delibird and Smeargle outright, but MTC offered their names and Hanke asked if they were the ones with special moves. MTC confirmed, and Hanke concurred.

Like Ditto in Gen 1, Delibird and Smeargle in Gen 2 have unique moves, called Present and Sketch, that need to be fitted into Pokémon Go. So, much as Ditto arrived last fall, we should see Delibird and Smeargle pop into the game sometime this spring or summer.

April 24, 2016: Pokémon Go daily catch limits lowered to 500

This won't affect most players, but it looks like Pokémon Go has lowered the maximum amount of Pokémon you can catch on any given day from 1000 down to 500.

While it may seem impossible for legit players to catch 500, let alone 1000 Pokémon in a day, a few people on Reddit who live in large urban areas with clusters of PokéStops that are consistently lured, and who use Pokémon Go Plus to speed up catching, claim to be hitting it. Specifically, some parts of Hong Kong and Copenhagen.

If you hit 500, you can still spin PokéStops, apparently, and walk for buddy candy, but all Pokémon you try to catch will flee after you throw the first ball of any type at them.

The change is suspected to be aimed at "botters" who use scripts and GPS spoofing to cheat at the game.

April 20, 2017: Pokémon Go stats now vary by trainer level

Following the end of the spring event, Pokémon Go has made a major server side change to the way Pokémon spawn in the wild.

Now, IV — attack, defense, and stamina — and other stats like height and weight all vary by trainer level, up to level 30 (and are the same from levels 30-40.)

CP has always worked like that in Pokémon Go, but it's the first time the other stats have become level-dependant as well.

It's being theorized the change was made to help combat "spoofers", or those who use bots and GPS cheats to catch rare, high-IV Pokémon from a computer rather than out in the real world the way nature and Niantic intended.

So, if you're out with friends, a Dragonite spawns, and all its stats are completely different for all of you, don't worry. That's now the new normal.

April 7, 2017: Pokémon Go updated to 1.31.0

On April 7, 2017, Pokémon Go for iOS was updated to version 1.31.0. The update includes

  • Traditional Chinese language support.
  • New Pokémon collection screen scroll bar.
  • Various bug fixes.
  • Minor text fixes.

Not mentioned but thankfully included, only 4 months after the New Year's version went live:

  • New loading screen featuring Steelix.

Steelix is the Gen 2 Pokémon that evolves from Onix with the Metal Coat item.

Download the Pokémon Go update from the App Store

Future Pokémon Go updates

In addition to what's already been released, there's a whole slew of updates planned for the rest of the year. Luckily, much of it has been substantiated by Niantic and Niantic employees in talks or interviews, so we have a rough idea what to expect.

Q2 2017: New Gym system?

From Niantic, developer of Pokémon Go:

We continue to be inspired by the passion of the 65+ million people from around the world playing Pokémon GO each month. We're still at the beginning of the journey and there's a lot more to come. With spring arriving in the northern hemisphere, players can look forward to all new cooperative social gameplay experiences in Pokémon GO that will give Trainers new and exciting reasons to get back into the sunshine.

Cooperative and social gameplay sounds like it'll involve teams and require some organization!

Some other hints were posted on The Silph Road:

  • "gym_removal_notification_toast" "{0} has fought hard and returned!" "{0} は "pokemon_hungry_notification_toast" "{0} is hungry!" "{0} はお腹が空いている"
  • "pokemon_lost_notification_toast" "{0} lost a battle!" "{0} は負けてしまった"
  • "pokemon_won_notification_toast" "{0} defended the Gym!" "{0} はジムを守った!"
  • "nearby_raid_notification_toast" "Nearby raid starting soon!" "近くのジムでバ
  • "gym_removal_notification_toast|1" "{0} is back after a hard battle!" "{0} が
  • "gym_removal_notification_toast|2" "{0} was forced off the Gym!" "{0} がジムか
  • "pokemon_hungry_notification_toast|1" "{0} needs a pick-me-up!" "{0} のお腹が
  • "pokemon_hungry_notification_toast|2" "{0} wants a berry!" "{0} はきのみを欲
  • "pokemon_lost_notification_toast|1" "{0} was defeated in battle!" "{0} は負けて
  • "pokemon_lost_notification_toast|2" "{0} fainted at the Gym!" "{0} はひんしになっ
  • "pokemon_won_notification_toast|1" "{0} was victorious in battle!" "{0} はバトル
  • "pokemon_won_notification_toast|2" "{0} has triumphed over your opponents!"
  • "nearby_raid_notification_toast|1" "There's a raid about to start near you!"
  • "nearby_raid_notification_toast|2" "A raid's going to start nearby!" "近くでバ

That sounds like you'll need to feed berries of some type to Pokémon that are on Gyms and also that raids and other mechanics will come into play.

No word on the timeline yet, other than spring.

Q3, 2017: Player vs. Player (PvP)?

John Hanke, CEO of Pokémon Go developer Niantic, spoke to Vice about this year's updates:

These include monster trading and player-versus-player battles. These are on the way, says Hanke, who adds that if the servers hadn't been so sketchy at launch, at least one of them would already be out there, likewise a gym battle system, supplementing what he feels is a "rudimentary" version of the game they envisioned.

"It's going to be done soon," he says. "It is what it is. I'll take the massive wave of hysteria we enjoyed, and just deal with the fact that it's caused us to take a bit longer to get the rest of the features up. We're really happy to make our users happy."

Fully bankrolled basically forever thanks to their success to date, Hanke once again wants to focus on Gen 2 and events.

With Pokémon Go established as the preeminent title people think of when you say "augmented reality"—and Hanke foresees that being the case for several years and platforms to come—and generation two Pokémon coming to the game, it's not about to fade away. And Hanke really is determined to make the social side of Niantic's creation all the more visible in the months ahead.

"My heart is really with events, and that's something I really want us to try to solve in 2017," he concludes. "It's complicated, though, to do them at the scale that Pokémon Go demands. But, to me, that would be the best demonstration of the vision of this company, which is all about playing games together, outside, with other people."

Can you sum that up for me?

Sure. Much have it has been rumored for a while, but here're the bullet points:

  • Q1: Pokémon Go Gen 2
  • Q2: New Gym system
  • Q3: Player vs. Player?
  • Q4: Trading?

Also: More Events!

How can you prepare for the new Gym system and PVP?

That could also go in a few different directions. If Pokémon Go makes substantive changes to the power levels and movesets, then it's wide open for all types of subtlety, nuance, and deep gameplay.

If not, if CP and movesets stay the same, then the answer in the future will be similar to what it is now: Get as many Tyranitar, Dragonite, Snorlax, Gyarados, Blissey, Rhydon, and Vaporeon and other top-tier attackers as possible, with the best movesets possible, and power them up as much as possible.

Best Pokémon to evolve and power up in Pokémon Go

What can you do to prepare for trading?

Since we don't know what mechanics will be involved — will you be able to trade with anyone, anywhere, or will you have to be physically standing next to someone to trade, like you to battle a Gym together? — it's hard to predict what you'll need to do.

Trading does require Pokémon you want to trade and that others want to trade for, though. That probably means you should accumulate some "extra" high-value Pokémon that are attractive but you won't mind giving up.

Regionals, including Taurus, Mr. Mime, Farfetch'd, and Kangaskhan will no doubt be super popular. Abundant for those in the right regions, impossible to find for those anywhere else, a top-notch regional will certainly be a hot commodity. If the trade mechanics make it easier than simply flying over to catch them.

High CP, high stat (IV), and great movesets will likely also be in high demand. You might not want to give up a perfect Dragonite, but you might be willing to trade a close-to-perfect one, or some Dratini so someone else can evolve.

Special editions, like Santa Hat Pikachu and Raichu, could also be of interest, especially to those who missed out on the Holiday 2016 event.

What do you want to see from Pokémon Go in 2017?

Are trades, PvP, better Gym battles, and the rest what you want to see from Pokémon Go in 2017? And if so, how would you like to see it implemented?