Easter’s arrived just in time to Pokémon Go with the latest event having hit smartphones earlier this evening. The event, which has been heavily rumoured over the last few weeks, is the sixth to occur in-game since the app was launched last summer. With the promise of increased rewards over the next week, developers are hopeful that this ‘Eggstravaganza’ will prompt players to return to the game once again, but how successful will this strategy prove to be? With just a few months until the one year anniversary, does 2016’s biggest release still have a long life ahead of it, or is the app’s shortcomings greater than it’s strengths?
Looking at what this new event entails, it’s one of the best Niantic have had so far. Much like they had during the Thanksgiving celebration, all XP received in the game is doubled, only this time there’s a half price discount on lucky eggs. What’s more, rarer Pokémon can now be obtained from 2km eggs, with every hatch promising an increase in candy. These features mean that for a limited time, players have an excellent opportunity to level up and catch new Pokémon a lot easier than they normally would.
As far as events go, it’s a step up from March’s Water Festival which, although popular, failed to offer any increase in rewards players receive from catching or hatching Pokémon. The discount on lucky eggs will likely cause a massive surge in in-app purchases for the company, but given the opportunity this creates to quadruple XP, it’s actually a very reasonable offer. Anyone who stopped playing because they needed too much XP to move up a level now has a reason to return to the game.
For a week, at least. Therein lies the problem.
Back in November I talked about several features and improvements that would benefit the app in the long run. In the months that have passed, only one of those has actually been fully implemented, with another having been slightly improved. While in-game events are necessary to keep Pokémon Go exciting and rewarding, their eventual end leaves a bitter taste because the app still lacks major features.
I’ve been a huge fan of the game since it launched, my interest only having dwindled for a few weeks here and there in all the time that it’s been around. I know, however, that I’m somewhat of an exception to the majority. Most people don’t find the appeal of hunting Pokémon as enticing as they used to, not when that’s all there is to it. The lack of trading, battling, progression, tasks and more leaves the app feeling disappointingly empty, no matter how many new Pokemon they add in. Without these key features, the events will only ever be successful in bringing back players for a week at a time.
This isn’t to say that Pokémon Go is failing.
Even if the events only draw in an audience for so long, they’re still bringing back a large propotion of players every time they come around. With the rate at about one event per month, the app is seeing an increase in play time on a fairly regular basis. Given that Pokémon Go clearly still has millions of people interested in what it has to offer, it stands to reason that once new features are brought in, the number of daily users should start to go up again. They just need to get a move on.
Developers announced that the introduction of the second generation of Pokémon was just the first of four major new additions to the game this year, with much talk centred around PvP, trading and changes to the current gym system. The fact that none of these features have been implemented almost a year down the line is concerning, but with the server issues now a thing of the past, one has to hope these will all be released relatively quickly. As much as bringing these new features in will entice people back to the game, they can only wait so long before they give up on it for good.