Pokemon Go: Multiplayer modes on their way to augmented reality game, developers suggest

The hit game’s predecessor became famous for the way it let people compete in real life – and the makers hope to bring those new features to players

Pokemon Go might not even have its most fun game mode yet – multiplayer.

The game only came out this week and has rapidly become one of the most popular ever. It lets people catch Pokemon in real life – using the phone’s camera and location to add augmented reality creatures onto the real world.

But at the moment there is no real way of playing against friends, and few kinds of multiplayer at all. The only social part of the game is the capture of gyms – but those don’t allow for playing against specific people.

The game’s trailer had initially suggested that people would be able to battle each other using the Pokemon that they had caught – as happened in the old, more traditional games in the series. While that sort of multiplayer might not be on its way to the game, developers have said that they are working on new ways of letting people challenge and play with their friends.

"The multiplayer aspect is still something we’re exploring, we’re still trying to figure out what's the best way to do that", Archit Bhargava, who works for developers Niantic, told Gamespot. "So far we’ve learned that multiplayer battles are a lot of fun. When two people from different teams show up at a rival gym, if they collaborate and both have their Pokémon deployed to battle at the same time, they can take down a stronger gym faster."

Pokemon Go was produced by Niantic, which makes augmented reality games in real life. The company’s original game Ingress became hugely popular on the back of communities that grew around it.

"Our original thesis was that people would just go out with their friends and play" said Mr Bhargava. "But what ended up happening in small towns and smaller cities was that people would meet other people in the world while playing Ingress, and friendships started emerging and that social aspect became the biggest thing. That became a new tenant for us: that we wanted to encourage social fun, which is why we started doing a lot of events."

At the moment, developers appear to be struggling to deal with even keeping the game up as it is. Many people are reporting that they are unable to play Pokemon Go because of issues with its servers, and it is still being restricted to the US, Australia and New Zealand until those problems are overcome.

But when people get to play it properly then the game will adapt to their demand, Mr Bhargava said.

“"But we’re trying our best to rethink what the experience should be; what that real-world Pokémon experience should be like. Obviously we’re learning from Ingress, but it’s going to be a pretty different game. We have a vision for Pokémon, we’re gonna execute on it, but we’re gonna learn based on what the community reaction is.”

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