A feature that we've been speculating about for a long time arrives today in Pokémon GO. Niantic has announced the debut of Powered-Up PokéStops today. Let's get into the details.
Is that guy involved? No. Not unless he's already controlling the minds of us all, which… you never know.
Niantic announced their arrival in the "Metaverse" with this new feature over at the official Pokémon GO blog. They write in their official PR:
Today, Niantic announced a new feature where Pokémon GO Trainers level 20 and above can "power up" certain PokéStops and Gyms for a limited period of time by scanning them. The feature is now live, and all Trainers regardless of level who spin Powered-Up PokéStops will receive additional rewards. Powered-Up PokéStops will have three visually distinct levels, and they'll level up as more Trainers work together to scan the PokéStop. Scanning new places will help us create exciting new AR experiences for Trainers worldwide, and long term will help create a Real-World Metaverse, where people can explore the world overlaid with digital creations.
Ah. It's tied to AR scanning. This is perhaps the most hated feature in Pokémon GO at the moment, with many trainers actively keeping an unused AR task in order to avoid getting new ones. This is the first time, though, that we are seeing an explanation as to why these tasks exist at all. If Niantic is using this feature to connect to the "Real-World Metaverse" to further merge the game with the real world, perhaps trainers would be more willing to do these tasks.
The PR continues:
As more Trainers level 20 and above complete AR scans of a Powered-Up PokéStop, that PokéStop's level will rise, increasing both the rewards it offers and the duration of time it remains powered up. The higher the level of the Powered-Up PokéStops, the greater the rewards and duration of the power-up. Note that you do not have to be level 20 or above to receive the increased rewards – the increased rewards will be available to all Trainers. Trainers can scan a Powered-Up PokéStop by going to the PokéStop or Gym's details page, tap the three dots in the upper right, tap "Scan PokéStop," and complete the in-game instructions.
Interesting. Now, what many Pokémon GO players will be wondering is "Should I delete the AR task I'm holding to avoid getting more unwanted AR tasks?" Personally, I'm going to delete mine to try this feature out on a trial basis. It'll depend exactly how strong the increase in rewards ends up being from a Powered-Up PokéStop.
While this announcement is about the Powered-Up stops, I find the Metaverse references to be more interesting. Currently, every single player I know plays with AR off while catching Pokémon. Could the real world and the game merge to the extent where players will remove the illustrated background and seek to play in the AR setting? Or will the Metaverse end up being so merged with the real world that it will surpass any idea of what we currently understand AR to be? Only time and doing those tasks we've been avoiding will tell.
You can learn how to do it here.