Niantic confirms buddy system for Pokemon Go

Data miners unearthed the feature, so Niantic decided to let the Meowth out of the bag.

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In a blog post published earlier today, developers from Niantic announced a buddy system for Pokemon Go. It's one of many new features planned to roll out in an upcoming update, and will let you bond with a pocket monster of your choice.

"You will be able to pick your favorite Pokemon from your collection to become your buddy, opening up unique in-game rewards and experiences," Niantic explained. "Buddy Pokemon will appear alongside your Trainer avatar on your profile screen, adding helpful bonuses such as awarding Candy for walking together. You’ll also have the ability to change your Buddy Pokemon at any time."

Choosing today to reveal Buddy Pokemon might not be a coincidence. Earlier this week, data miners claimed to have uncovered the feature after digging through the most recent version of the app. According to their findings, Buddy Pokemon will come in various sizes and can adopt various modes of travel, such as walking beside you or perching on your shoulder.

The data miners also claim that you can only have one Buddy Pokemon at a time, and that the system uses the same calculations as the routines used for eggs.

Regardless of how it was discovered, Buddy Pokemon is one in a series of updates Niantic has planned to keep Pokemon Go players locked in. The feature before it, Pokemon Appraisal, disclosed which Pokemon stood the best chance of achieving victory in battle.

The studio's efforts appear to be working. Although the game shed 15 million active users in just a month, it's earned over $300 million in global net revenue in just under two months.

Long Reads Editor

David L. Craddock writes fiction, nonfiction, and grocery lists. He is the author of the Stay Awhile and Listen series, and the Gairden Chronicles series of fantasy novels for young adults. Outside of writing, he enjoys playing Mario, Zelda, and Dark Souls games, and will be happy to discuss at length the myriad reasons why Dark Souls 2 is the best in the series. Follow him online at davidlcraddock.com and @davidlcraddock.

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