How Gyms will look with the next update for Pokémon Go. (Photo: Niantic Labs)
Niantic Labs really wants more players of its hit mobile game Pokémon Go to hit the gym.
The developers announced Monday it will introduce a major update to its signature franchise, overhauling the game’s Gyms to encourage more players to visit the locations.
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game where players use GPS to find Pokémon creatures nearby, then use their smartphone camera to identify and capture them by swiping Pokéballs.
Gyms, which are based in real-world locations, serve as a way for players to battle other Pokémon, and earn important items such as coins and stardust, used to make creatures stronger. Each Gym carries a Prestige score and color representing the team owning the location. Players from opposing teams fight Pokémon in the Gym to kick them out and claim it for their team.
With the update, Niantic replaces the prestige score with six individual slots for unique Pokémon. Gyms will no longer host the same Pokémon type from multiple players on a team.
Each creature also boasts a motivation meter, which can make it easier for opponents to beat if it drops to a certain level. Players will have to keep motivation up by feeding their creatures berries.
Players can also pick up badges at Gyms and items using a system similar to Pokestops, spinning a disc on the touchscreen to earn extra items.
Niantic says the goal of the Gym change was to “make ownership more collaborative, and to encourage all players to visit friendly Gyms and engage with them in a variety of new ways.”
Meanwhile, the game will also add Raids, special battles where multiple players work together to fight a really powerful Pokémon called a raid boss. If you win, you pick up rare rewards and earn the chance to capture the creature using special Pokéballs.
The updates are expected to roll out in the coming weeks.
The changes arrive as Niantic gets ready to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the game’s launch in July. Pokémon Go became a summer craze, as people wandered cities, parks and other outdoor locales with smartphones out in search of Pokémon.
When it launched, Pokémon Go set a first-week download record on Apple’s App Store. To date, Pokémon Go registered 750 million downloads and boasts 65 million monthly active users.
Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.
Read or Share this story: https://usat.ly/2sK5fe4