Pokemon Go rocked the world last July and easily became the hottest video game around. In just a short time, it managed to overtake Candy Crush Saga as the mobile game with the most number of active users and also took Niantic to the top of the mobile game food chain, despite relatively not being a big name in the industry. The game is still being questioned whether it’s a “real” Pokemon game, but there’s no doubt it further cemented the Pokemon franchise as one of the most popular and enduring properties in history. However, Pokemon Go still feels like an incomplete game, mostly due to the number of features it omitted from the main Pokemon games, which give skeptics more reason to believe that the game won’t last very long in this increasingly harsh video game industry. Here are 3 quick reasons why Pokemon Go will stick around for a while and their immediate counters as to why it won’t
1. Niantic is still leaning on-the fly
The most obvious and most clichéd reason is that Niantic still has a lot of room for improvement. Pokemon Go rose to unprecedented success, so it’s understandable that the developer had their hands full ever since the game’s launch. At the moment, Niantic is most likely working on fixing and tweaking the game for the purpose of either streamlining the experience or kicking game bugs out the door. Players can’t exactly expect them to fix everything over the span of one or two months. So there’s still a lot of untapped potential for Pokemon Go and as Niantic continues to work on the game, the experience will presumably become better.
The flip side: Niantic’s inexperience in the video game industry will eventually work against its favor. Players are a lot more vocal and demanding now. If Niantic takes a lot of time to tweak and improve the overall experience, players may start to lose their patience and eventually walk away from the game. A lot of players have already abandoned the game, although it’s a safe bet that most of them are those that only hitched on the trending bandwagon. The negative side of learning on-the-fly is that it produces a lot of trial-and-errors, which might irritate a lot of players due to the ever-changing features.
2. The hundreds of other Pokemon are still on the way
Unlike when you buy a League of Legends account and get easy access to all the game characters (assuming you’re ready to spend on them), Pokemon Go still doesn’t have its entire roster of characters on hand. Only the 151 original Pokemon are in the game, although the five legendary Pokemon and Ditto are not yet available, and there’s also the case of certain Pokemon being region-exclusive. The absence of the other 600+ other Pokemon gives players incentive to continue playing the game until every last one of them – possibly including the new ones in the upcoming Pokemon Sun and Moon – is available in Pokemon Go. That’s especially true for real fans of the franchise that are looking to get a piece of their favorite Pokemon from the second-gen games onward.
The flip side: The decision to hold off on including the hundreds of other Pokemon has something to do on the technical side – servers will most likely go overload at the amount of data they are processing. But, as mentioned above, players nowadays have become rather impatient and very hard to please. So if Niantic doesn’t drop the other Pokemon in the game soon, players will feel they are being cheated from the experience and similarly walk away from the game. Nobody wants to play Pokemon Go for years all in the name of simply catching ‘em all – all 700+ of them. And that brings us to the next item…
3. More features are likely to come
As mentioned, Pokemon Go still feels like an incomplete game. Heck, even the most basic gameplay features feel somewhat lacking, like the inability to battle wild Pokemon, trade Pokemon with other players, and spontaneously challenge players anytime. Of course, Pokemon Go is practically still walking on its baby legs, so there’s no reason to doubt that Niantic won’t make further additions to the gameplay and perhaps make the game more in line with the main Pokemon games. The potential of having improved gameplay and additional features in the future will keep interest in the game up, although it would be wise for Niantic to continuously keep the hype machine running.
The flip side: The last thing that players would want is playing a shallow game for an extended period. Yes, Pokemon Go is a free-to-play game and players can’t exactly demand for Niantic to give what their money’s worth. But if Pokemon Go doesn’t have much gameplay features to keep players hooked for the next couple of months, interest will quickly wane, especially if players are not really interested in catching ‘em all and want more competitive gaming options other than battling AI-controlled Gym defenders. At the moment, Pokemon Go is certainly not worth playing for more than a month or two and players can’t be expected to play all in the hopes of new features that may or may not arrive.
The biggest reason why Pokemon Go isn’t quite up to par to the other main Pokemon games is simply because Nintendo and Game Freak did not have anything to do with it. Nintendo simply loaned its intellectual properties for Niantic to toy around with, which may be related to their efforts to bring their brand to the mobile gaming scene. There’s no reason to believe that the gaming giant won’t be involved with Pokemon Go one way or another and possibly give Niantic a helping hand in smoothing out the game. After all, they still own The Pokemon Company, Pokemon Go’s publisher. They would benefit greatly if Pokemon Go continues to help in making their intellectual properties infinitely relevant.
For players still waiting on Pokemon Go to provide a better experience, they can quickly hop back into the game when more gameplay features are on hand by simply buying a Pokemon Go account with pre-loaded items and Pokemon.