Niantic Commitment to Real-World Play in Pokémon GO

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Over the weekend Niantic have shared a new blog post, further cementing their commitment to real-world play in Pokémon GO. One of their core values has always been to get the community outside together, and it looks like in 2023 this will continue in a major way.

“Dear Trainers,

Today we want to share our renewed commitment to bolstering Pokémon GO’s in-person experience. We have a lot planned for Pokémon GO in 2023, but first we’d like to recap some of our recent updates and share additional updates that are coming soon.”

Game Updates

Elite Raids that feature new or unique Pokémon—such as this weekend’s Regidrago Elite Raids (which didn’t go so well!) —are one of the first steps in that commitment. Regieleki has been confirmed to be the next Elite Raid boss in April, another debut for a brand new Pokémon. Niantic have stated that they are also working on the following:

  • Improvements to raids that make it easier for you to participate in local Raid Battles and to become friends with Trainers you’ve battled with.
  • Enhancements to the game experience when playing in person with family and friends.
  • New features that provide benefits and encounters with more Pokémon while exploring outside.

It is great to see that their intention stated here is improvements on in-person raiding and exploring, rather than a mention of removing features for remote raiding.


Last year Niantic launched Campfire in select US cities, and since then it has slowly rolled out via invite across the globe. Niantic aim for Campfire to be the go-to tool for Trainers to connect, discover local communities, and find active nearby Raid Battles. Many communities have been spread out across a variety of apps and websites, from facebook, to discord, to various raid apps, and Niantic want to bring the community aspect back to their own app. They are aiming to continue improving Campfire through the following updates focused on helping Trainers better communicate and work together to tackle Raid Battles in person:

  • Adding the ability to start conversations at PokéStops and Gyms around you
  • Adding the ability to navigate from Campfire to a specific Gym in Pokémon GO

Campfire will also see updates soon to significantly improve how Trainers connect, chat, and join Raid Battles together in Pokémon GO. This is considered a key step in preparing Campfire’s continued rollout and access for all Trainers around the world, which Niantic intend to happen in 2023.

Campfire Logo

The Community Ambassador Program

The Ambassador Program was introduced in July 2022, as another way to encourage interaction within the community, along with a partnership with The Silph Road. In 2023 Niantic are continuing to grow their Community Ambassador program. This program, available in select areas currently, aim to nurture in-person Pokémon GO communities while also fostering new communities for Trainers to find. So far they have added two hundred Community Ambassadors from around the globe since its launch, providing them with tools to connect to their local player bases and unique incentives to encourage local gameplay.

germany, berlin – Pokémon GO – deino community day june


While the weekends Elite Raids were a disaster for in-person play, the recent Global Hoenn Tour was a success (in terms of lack of glitches), whereas the Las Vegas Hoenn Tour was also plagued by issues. Niantic are determined to rebuild communities that have been lost and changed through the pandemic, and encourage us to play together again in-person. We hope they still consider the impact this will have on rural and disabled players, as for many in-person raiding is an impossibility, and travelling cross-country or even abroad, especially in a period of economic uncertainty, is a huge issue for many players across the world. To quote JRE’s article on the Elite Raid issue, we hope the focus remains on the ‘carrot’ for in-person activities, rather than ‘the stick’ for remote raids and solo play. If Niantic want to rebuild this community, they need to ensure events run smoothly and successfully, and address the issues appropriately when things go wrong.

What are you hoping to see Niantic improve in 2023?

Author & tags

Turtwig obsessive, real life Psyduck, Pokémon GO AR Photographer, found footage horror fan and Pokémon GO Hub AR Queen

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