Pokémon GO is making moves. After months of minor updates at best, Niantic is gearing up for a big announcement on December 12th where the developer will likely unveil something in the neighborhood of 100 Gen 2 Pokémon, making the first major addition to the game since launch. But that may not be all: we'll also have a holiday event coming our way, and the friendly neighborhood dataminers at The Silph Road have done their usual poking around through the code, and they've found that costumes may well be on the way to Pokémon GO as well, possibly starting along with this holiday event. That means Santa hats on Pikachu, people.
Interestingly enough, costumes appear to have their own collision physics, which suggest that we'll also be seeing them on wild Pokémon that have decided to get into the holiday spirit: a nice way to signal the new feature to players and suggest that they might want to buy some new upgrades of their own.
It's a bit sad that this is only coming now, because cosmetics are the most essential form of monetization that the game industry has come up with yet, and for some reason this game launched without any at all. One shudders to wonder just how much money Niantic could have made if people had the option to put a hat on Pikachu from day one onwards or, dare we say, sunglasses on Squirtle. But progress is progress, and this game continues its slow march to the sort of basic features it should have had on day one.
Come to think of it, it would be a pretty Niantic move to only put these things on wild Pokémon and not use them for monetization at all: it would mean lost revenue for certain, but that sort of thing never seems to bother the developer very much. They're much more interested in making money outside of normal game channels: witness the recent deals with Sprint and Starbucks to turn stores in to Pokéstops.
We'll be getting a bunch more information soon, but I for one am pretty excited to shake this game up a bit. As of this writing, it's fallen to 11 on the App Store Top Grossing Chart, but a little holiday magic could shoot it back up to the top quickly enough. After that, we'll see if there's enough in the game to keep it there.