The CEO of The Pokémon Company, Tsunekazu Ishihara confirmed that much-awaited features are indeed coming to Pokémon Go, including trading and one-on-one battles. In an interview with Bloomberg, the executive talked about the future of mobile AR games and main series titles on the Nintendo Switch.
The announcement comes after some months of silence from the company, which has been busy working on the release of the next installments of its main series of games for Nintendo’s handheld console. Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon will launch this November on the Nintendo 3DS.
In the meantime, the team over at Niantic Labs also continues to work frantically to keep its user base engaged. There are still millions of monthly active users in Pokémon Go, but coming up with new features and events has proven to be a double-edged sword for the developers of the augmented reality hit.
The Pokémon Company isn’t done with AR and Pokémon Go
Speaking to Bloomberg, Tsunekazu Ishihara reflected on the potential of AR and the possibilities left for development with Pokémon Go in partnership with Niantic. One key takeaway to help put things in perspective is that the CEO believes they have accomplished only 10% of what’s possible with the mobile game.
Ishihara officially confirmed that long-rumored features are indeed in the works and coming to the game eventually, namely trading and peer-to-peer battles. These were promised since the beginning and even showcased in a rudimentary way in early trailers to appease fans and lure them into the experience.
Those strategies worked, and although the initial hype wave has passed after more than a year, Pokémon Go still has a solid player base upwards of 60 million people. The head of The Pokémon Co. believes regional coherence with monster types would be cool, and that virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri might be the future of entertainment and maybe Pokémon games.
— Bloomberg Technology (@technology) September 6, 2017
Pokémon didn’t believe in the Switch, but now it does
Mr. Ishihara admitted that he was skeptic at first about the success of the Nintendo Switch, but gladly conceded he had been wrong and that the ever-engaging software and games made by the company were the driving force of hardware sales in the end.
Regarding Pokémon games on the Switch, the CEO shared some insights about the challenges and potential of the “extremely important platform” that is the hybrid console. He addressed the fact that the small screen of portable consoles pales in comparison to TVs in living rooms, hinting at a more complete world experience in future games.
Likewise, he suggested that the multiplayer paradigm that home consoles bring would be one to tackle further down the road, but at the same time said things would be kept simple and treated much like projects on the 3DS in terms of internet-enabled features and such.
The Pokémon Company head also stated he would like to “think about the possibility” of releasing interactive accessories that players can use with the Switch title to enhance their experience. In the meantime, fans have Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon on the 3DS and Pokkén Deluxe on the Switch to look forward to.