There are rumblings that Niantic has a big Pokémon GO update planned for December, and that it very well might be the addition of 100 new Gen 2 Gold/Silver Pokémon to the mix.
This could be just that, rumblings, and so far as I can tell there isn’t much solid evidence other than the fact that some measure of data has been added for Gen 2 Pokémon behind the scenes, but the same is true for missing Pokémon like the Legendary Birds and Mewtwo, and has been for months. And with Pokémon GO rolling out pretty major updates every few weeks, a December update could be anything, really.
However, let’s say that December is the Gen 2 update. I have personally argued against this because it’s uh, December, and therefore rather chilly and/or freezing in many parts of the world where Pokémon GO, an outdoors-based game, is played. Yes, I know the game launched when it was technically winter in Oceana and other regions, but 88 percent of the world’s population lives in the Northern Hemisphere, and at this point in the global release, that’s probably at least 88 percent of Pokémon GO’s playerbase. Obviously it’s not freezing everywhere, but the fact remains, for many people the idea of catching Pokémon outside in ice-cold or even chilly conditions is uncomfortable to say the least.
Of course, this is one of the primary reasons why Niantic might be planning something like this for that time. The concept of a “seasonal video game” is a relatively new one, as nearly all games, even phone games, don’t rely on being outdoors to play. As such, Niantic is not exactly looking forward to a gigantic drop off in players both as the weather gets cold and players fill out the last few slots of their Pokedex after six months of play. Enter Gen 2.
But what I don’t think is being considered is that this might actually be sort of an evil genius move on their part from a moneymaking perspective. Why? Because it would absolutely increase the purchase of items from the store, given the weather conditions.
Think about it. What’s the best way to play Pokémon GO for free? To walk around outside and play it. Doing that will allow you to spin PokeStops for items, catch wild Pokémon that appear on your path, and hatch all the eggs you want if you simply have the miles in you. All for free.
But, take mobility mostly out of the equation due to freezing conditions, and add in 100 new Gen 2 Pokémon that players desperately want to catch all the same. Finally take away the ability to play the game as a passenger in fast-moving, heated transportation, which the game has done already. What happens then?
- Incense sales spike because it’s the only way to attract Pokémon to your location wherever you are. And right off the bat, even common Gen 2 Pokémon will feel exciting and new, so almost anything that shows up will be welcome.
- If you have the good fortune of living or working near a PokeStop, Lures are an even more attractive option to catch stuff while indoors. You may not be sitting in a snow covered park with one, but any time players can be indoors on a Lure, they’ll take advantage given the weather.
- The inability to walk around and spins PokeStops paired with the desire to catch Pokémon using lures and incense means players will be running short on Pokeballs, which just so happen to be sold at the store. Many players may have an abundance of them now, but let me tell you, after a few days of Ditto farming with Incense, even my massive stockpile has dwindled, and it would be the same in winter.
- I can even imagine this would increase Incubator sales because if you are walking outside in the cold, you would want to make every little bit of that count. What better way to do that than to get 2x, 5x or 9x the efficiency by buying multiple Incubators?
I’m not sure that this would be enough to offset the number of people who aren’t playing because of the weather, but this possible uptick in microtransactions per player combined with an uncontrollable desire to catch Gen 2 Pokémon no matter when they’re released, and I’m starting to see why a December/winter update actually could make sense.
Also, if Niantic is in it for the long haul, and after creating the biggest mobile game of all time, I think they are, we have what, seven total generations of Pokémon coming? Even if one is added every six months, which seems like a reasonable pace, that’s years of content on the horizon just in terms of new Pokémon alone, not to mention what other features might be added to the game.
I’ve almost talked myself into a December Gen 2 update being a good idea, but if GO went into hibernation and it was pushed to say, May, I’d still probably like that more, given that I live in Chicago which is about to descend into an icy hell.
What do you think? Should Gen 2 show up sooner rather than later no matter the weather? Will you change your playing/buying habits if it does?
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