I’ll begin this by stating the obvious; I love Pokémon.
I’m a 25 year old Millennial who has been a fan of the franchise since I was 7. I’ve watched the show, collected Pokémon cards, and I’ve played at least one game from each generation; it’s the only reason I still own a 3DS.
So, thank you for Pokémon Go. Thank you for the experience of catching a Charmander on my dining table, and a Dratini right outside my office. It’s been a nostalgic month of chasing down Pikachus (still haven’t caught one), making new friends near Poke-stops and trying to figure out why my morning commute isn’t translating into egg kilometres…
As an avid fan I think I have enough authority to say that Pokémon Go has been an excellent complement to the Pokémon legacy.
For that, you have my sincerest gratitude.
That being said, I’ve identified 3 key opportunities for Pokémon Go to gain even more popularity and last for many years.
1. Remove Transfers
While it works as a useful mechanism for facilitating evolutions, transfers take away from a vital element of the Pokémon brand that has made it so popular and nostalgic – the bond between trainer and Pokémon.
In the pre-Go era, every time I imagined myself in Ash Ketchum’s shoes, a huge part of the appeal was the opportunity to create a bond between myself and a loyal Pokémon. One that is willing to go to great lengths to fight for me if it needed to.*
Instead, I’m left catching dozens of Zubats I’ll never use, in order to convert them into candy to create another Golbat evolution that I don’t really need, but in exchange for XP.
There’s little connection between me and my Pokémon and I’m already dreading the day I’ll have to give in and transfer my starter Charmander (since it’s the weakest one I have) in order to evolve another Charmander.
Honestly though, I’d rather that that never happens. Much of the Pokémon experience is about the journey, and about nurturing and growing with your Pokémon. I don’t really need to catch every single Pidgey I come across. Since they’ll be XP anyway, why don’t I use that XP to train the other Pokémon I really like and feel attached to? Foregoing the efforts spent evolving the Caterpie I caught 10 minutes ago because it had a high CP.
To illustrate my point further, i’ll refer you to the lines in the Pokémon anthem (theme song);
“I wanna be the very best
Like no one ever was
To catch them is my real test
To train them is my cause”
Those lines really seem to drive the point home.
2. Bring Back Some of The Competition.
Note: This is not solely about player versus player competition.
Yes, I’m aware that there are teams and we’re all fighting to dominate the gyms in our neighbourhoods, but to what end? While it’s exciting in the moment, competition like this without an ultimate goal can only keep people’s interest for so long.
We need something greater to strive for, as teams and as individuals.
We need the Pokémon league.
Imagine a game where we’re not only fighting in gyms for team domination, but also to gain badges that makes us eligible for competing in The League in order to become the Pokémon champion in our regions!**
Now that sounds like a competition worth fighting for! Additionally, it would give players the opportunity to fight Pokémon that have had the chance to be properly trained. This would give access to various items that will help improve Pokémon’s stats – making each Pokémon unique in its own way.
So once we remove transfers, re-establish the bond between trainer and Pokémon and then re-ignite our passions through meaningful competition, its time to bring in my third point.
3. Bring in Events
What is an MMO without periodic events to keep the players satisfied who put all of their hours and money into it?
I’d also recommend not focusing on legendary Pokémon events (even though I’d love to participate in a Pokémon 2000 style event with Zapdos, Moltres, Articuno and Lugia).
Yes, we want them, but there’s only so many of those.
Let’s add some Team Rocket into the mix!
Healthy rivalry between the other teams is great, but villains add another layer. Don’t we all want to feel like heroes? And since, we’ve put time and effort into training our new Pokémon besties, now we can ‘save the world’ or at least the Pokémon world from being destroyed by Jessie and James.
In summary, thank-you for giving us the opportunity to experience Pokemon through another medium. It’s taken playing to different level, and for that, I’m so thankful.
Given it’s popularity and huge adaptation from fans around the world, I think its clear that the game has the potential to retain it’s popularity in the long term. But, wouldn’t it be amazing if the previous three points could be added? Let’s hope we see these additions in the coming months!
A Huge Pokémon Fan.
Ps. Could you also work on the tracking system?