Although Pokémon Go lets players experience the Pokémon universe with random encounters, gym battles and egg hatching, there's one thing it still doesn't have: trading. It's not a stretch to say that players have been eagerly awaiting trading since the game's inception.
Thankfully, Niantic senior product manager Tatsuo Nomura has given us an idea as to what trading will look like when it's implemented in a recent interview, but the timeline about when it will arrive in-game is still very nebulous.
Pokémon Go trading update: What trading will look like when it's released
A user called dronpes on the online Pokémon Go community Silph Road dug through Polygon's March 1 interview with Nomura at the Game Developer's Conference in a post titled "Our first concrete update on trading!"
In the post, dronpes goes through several of the relevant quotes Nomura offered up about trading's eventual inclusion in the mobile game. He confirms that when it's implemented, it will be proximity-based, not internet-based trading like in Pokémon Sun and Moon. Instead you'll have to trade with the friends (or strangers) who are nearby.
While any kind of trading is an exciting development, dronpes expressed doubt as to when players will actually see trading implemented in the game.
"Polygon goes on to speculate that trading may come out in 2017," they wrote. "But personally... I'm not willing to bet an incubator on it."
Pokémon Go trading update: Expected release date
We probably shouldn't expect to see trading — even localized trading — until several changes happen in Pokémon Go.
The first big change would be a permanent fix for a cheat known as GPS spoofing, which could be a potential (and substantial) roadblock to keeping localized trading, well, localized.
Nomura acknowledged this in the interview. "We're still trying to come up with an answer [to trading] that makes sense so it doesn't kill the game," he said. "If we fail this, we can easily kill the game."
Although he doesn't offer any specifics, the piece itself has a telling title: "Pokémon Go trading won't solve rural players' biggest problem," which alludes to the fact that rural players have fewer PokéStops and Pokémon spawning points, meaning they just catch fewer and less-varied Pokémon than people who live in cities do.
The Silph Road seems less concerned with that issue, and dronpes supposes that the community may become a way of organizing global trade routes in order to help people complete their Pokédexes once trading is implemented.
While thinking about a "Pokémon Express" is a fun diversion and a testimony to how strong the community of Pokémon Go is, it's clear that trading is clearly still a ways off from being implemented. It likely won't be released until Niantic can confidently solve the game's imbalance between rural and urban players and GPS spoofing.
More Pokémon Go guides, tips, tricks and updates
Check out Mic's Pokémon Go tips and tricks. Here are guides on how to get stardust, how to determine how long it will take you to reach level 40, the kind of Pokemon you get from 10-kilometer eggs, how to create new PokéStops, how to maximize your chances of catching Pokémon and how PokéStops distribute Pokémon eggs. Also check out how to catch Gen 2 baby Pokémon, our analysis of post-balance update Chansey and Rhydon and everything you need to know about finding the long-awaited Pokémon Ditto.