Pokemon Go continues to go from strength to strength, and despite having seen its player numbers drop off considerably since launch, it still reportedly has some 65 million active players.
Those players are set for some important changes and additions in the coming months, with developer, Niantic, confirming some exciting new features for the game in an interview with O Globo (via Dual Shockers).
Development lead, Archit Bhargava, teased the prospect of Legendary Pokemon coming to Pokemon Go a few weeks back, and now Niantic Vice President of Strategic Partnershps, Mathieu de Fayet, has confirmed the news.
“We are working on some news for next summer (Northern Hemisphere), how to give more value to team choice, the release of Legendary Pokémon and battles between players,” he said.
This is fantastic news for Pokemon Go fans, with both PVP and Legendary Pokemon among the most requested features for the experience.
What’s interesting is that Fayet mentioned how the game’s success allowed the team to create social interactions between players, and to slowly roll out these features over time rather than rush them out.
Pokemon Go has proven to be an immense success for The Pokemon Company and Niantic. The game took the world by storm when it released early last year, and has been routinely updated on both Android and iPhone since release.
What’s more, the game is being acknowledged for having encouraged people to get out and on their feet in search of new Pokemon.
Research back in March found that people that play Pokemon Go are twice as likely to reach a 10,000-steps per day goal.
That’s via a study conducted by Duke University graduate student, Hanzhang Xu, who told a recent American Hear Association meeting (via TIME) that the game has the potential to promote an active lifestyle.
“Pokémon Go is probably one of the most popular mobile games in history,” Xu said. “Unlike traditional mobile games, it requires the players to be active and travel around in the real world. It has great potential to promote physical activity.”
Xu studied 167 iPhone Pokemon Go players by asking them to send him screenshots of their daily steps across 50 days.
The people in the study walked roughly 5,600 more steps per day before they played Pokemon Go.
Once they started using the app, however, the number of steps increased to 7,600.
“[The smartphone] has the potential to work as social media and break the ice of isolation,” Xu said. “Games like Pokémon Go may provide an alternative way to encourage exercise.”
Back in December, developer of the record-breaking mobile game, Niantic, revealed a number of startling facts about the game and how people have interacted with it.
Pokemon Go players up to that point had walked a staggering 8.7 billion kilometres.
That’s equivalent to 200,000 (!) trips around Earth. It would take a commercial airline 1,000 years to make that journey.
The addition of Legendary Pokemon and new competitive bouts could yet reignite what is already a very energetic audience and player base.