Pokemon GO

New Social Features, Local Raid Battle Bonuses, In-Game Shop Item Changes Announced for Pokémon GO

The new social features will be available in Pokémon GO "sometime in the next few months."
The new social features will be available in Pokémon GO "sometime in the next few months." / Image courtesy of Niantic

Coming to Pokémon GO are new social features, new local raid battle bonuses and in-game shop item changes, Niantic announced Thursday.

In addition to the Alola to Alola event starting next week, it appears Pokémon GO trainers have some more exciting updates to look forward to in the near future thanks to Niantic's latest blog post.

"The new social features — some of which are based in a separate Niantic app — have been tested over time and will be available in Pokémon GO sometime in the next few months," the Niantic dev blog reads. "Our hope is that these features will make it easier for trainers to communicate with each other, discover new communities and enjoy local raid battles.

"We know that this feature is much needed and we look forward to making the social experience even better over time."

As alluded to in its statement, the teased social features should look very similar to those used in Niantic's social mobile app, which launched in closed beta to a wider group of Ingress Agents on May 5.

Aiming to bring community connecting and real-world organizing into a single resource, rather than see it spread across Discord, Facebook and other communications channels, key features of the Niantic’s social app include:

  • Local #Communities: Easily find other players by creating local communities around you.
  • Niantic Friends: Easily add and manage your friends and fellow Agents in Ingress, and across all Niantic titles.
  • Direct & Group Messaging: Organize all your chats with friends in one place, and coordinate Field Ops.
  • Real-World Events: Quickly create and share local events, farms, or meetups with reminders, and invite your community to join and play!

It will be interesting to see which of, as well as how, these social features are implemented directly in Pokémon GO.

Along with its push to get Pokémon GO trainers back to engaging in some augmented reality (AR) gaming together in person, Niantic also announced its new bonuses for those participating in local raid battles. This May, Mega Energy and Rare Candy XL are available as rewards for completing local raid battles, making it easier to evolve and strengthen Pokémon.

Additionally, starting on May 23, the in-game shop’s one PokéCoin Event Box will no longer include Remote Raid Passes and will instead feature a "rotating array of items."

"To support players who have difficulty reaching Gyms," Niantic said, "we will continue to work on solutions such as tools for community leaders to organize local events and faster approval for new Gyms.

"We look forward to adventuring together in person!"