In their effort to keep Pokémon GO‘s sizable 65 million worldwide player base on board and find new recruits who didn’t get hooked last summer, developer Niantic and The Pokémon Company have come out with a number of new updates for their groundbreaking AR mobile game.
A new Gyms update, which is available now on the App Store and Google Play, makes ownership more collaborative and encourages all players to visit friendly gyms and engage with them in new ways.
A spinable Photo Disc similar to PokéStops that can distribute new items has been added to the update. Players can now earn gym badges that they can level up for more rewards and bonus items.
In addition, each new gym now holds up to six Pokémon and players battle Pokémon in the order in which they were assigned to a gym, instead of fighting them from weakest to strongest.
A new motivation system is also featured in the gyms update that sees Pokémon lose motivation over time or whenever they are defeated thus temporarily lowering their maximum combat power.
However, any player from the same team can feed berries to a gym’s Pokémon to lift their motivation.
The game’s second major new update is Battle Raids, a cooperative social gameplay experience where players can team up with others nearby and work together in timed in-game events to defeat extremely powerful Pokémon known as Raid Bosses.
Private Raid groups can also be created via a customizable code system that lets players invite their friends to a specific Raid group.
The updates follow the addition of new features earlier this year that included 80 new pocket monsters. Prior to that update, the IP launched sponsored gyms in late 2016 that saw approximately 7,800 Starbucks stores across the US turn into PokéStops
As for other new extensions, Niantic’s first live Pokémon GO event, Pokémon GO Fest, will unfold in Grant Park Chicago on July 22.