Is it time for Pokémon GO to have long-distance trading?

With all the controversy surrounding the game's Raid Passes, Niantic would do well to at least improve some other aspects of Pokémon GO.

Will long-distance trading benefit Pokémon GO and is it possible? (Photo: Niantic)
Will long-distance trading benefit Pokémon GO and is it possible? (Photo: Niantic)

For those who don't play the game, you might be surprised to know that it's not quite simple for Pokémon GO players to trade their Pokémon with others.

One must first be friends with another player to initiate trades with them and both must have reached at least level 10. On top of that, you also need to be within 100 meters of each other to make the trade.

With players being connected through travel and then remote raids during the pandemic, it seems like many players are hoping for a way for Niantic to look into long-distance trading.

On the Pokémon GO subreddit, Reddit user squeeks9950 voiced their need for distance trading, with others agreeing and making suggestions on some possibilities on how developer Niantic can handle it.

“Trading really should be possible without needing to be nearby the same way it works for console, etc.,” Redditor phillybob232 wrote.

“They could still add bonuses for in person like a Stardust discount, maybe bonus Candy after a trade, some special badge you can earn, etc., but trading is literally impossible for me at the moment.”

It’s especially difficult for trainers in rural areas with few players.

“The only person among the 40 people on my friends list I can trade with is my brother; he lives 30 minutes away and has a busy life,” Redditor MusicalPigeon said. “I have missions that want me to trade, and I have no one to trade with,” he added.

Redditor just-regular-I-guess said the problem is the same for them, with the next closest after their family members would require them to book a plane ticket.

Some users, like starserval and InvestigatorUnfair, thought that trading in-game “feels too anti-Pokémon .” Other Pokémon titles from other consoles already allow long-distance trading, so Pokémon GO trainers are wondering why this isn’t available in the game.

But is it even possible, and should it be done?

At the current state of the game, there are some issues that may make it difficult. For one, trading in-game is a one-time deal. Once one has traded their Pokémon, the new owner cannot trade the same Pokémon to someone else.

Many pointed out the hassles of trading — because even if long-distance trading is allowed, the Pokémon’s IV ( Individual Values) is reset after the trade, and there are too many restrictions regarding which Pokémon can be traded, including Mythical and Regional Pokémon.

The restrictions were put in place presumably to prevent people with more than one device from doing unlimited trading until they receive a perfect IV Pokémon.

So, while long-distance trading would be ideal, it isn’t that useful unless you’re a trainer who focuses on completing your Pokedex only.

Another issue that might arise is the possibility of players selling Pokémon for real-life money.

While it already exists, gatekeeping distance trading will make it harder and less accessible for such people.

However, other players suggested a workaround for that potential problem, including excluding Regional Pokémon from long-distance trading.

Still, this does not bode well for those who made friends across the globe through playing and participating in events during the COVID-19 lockdown.

Is that even the point of the game?

Others like WolfmanCZ suggested that long-distance trading should be done between best friends to prevent auctioning and selling rare IV Pokémon, while players like TrulyToasty is happy enough with “1 or 2 events per year where you can trade at any distance.”

Many, however, believe Niantic won’t allow it because the game devs aim to bring players to the outside world to play the AR game.

“They really try to make it a local meet-up game, but let’s face it. It’s just not,” joker0812 said.

Back in December 2021, Niantic temporarily increased trading distance restrictions to 40km and expanded trading and raiding range throughout the COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

However, the devs have been outspoken about bringing back the status quo, first by making Elite Raids an in-person affair only, then by raising Remote Raid pass prices that caused an outrage among the player community and spurred boycotts, mass quitting, and even death threats.

And most recently, Niantic denied any reports that revenue this year is on a downward trend.

So perhaps, some players opening long-distance trading, with a few conditions, might bring some players back.

Do you think Pokémon GO should open long-distance trading?

Anna is a freelance writer and photographer. She is a gamer who loves RPGs and platformers, and is a League of Legends geek. She's also a food enthusiast who loves a good cup of black coffee.

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