Pokemon Go iOS "Buddy Update" is Live! But is it still relevant?

The long awaited update for Pokemon Go is now live on iOS.  Android users have already seen the update as early as last week, and iOS players have been chomping at the bit to get this new version installed on their devices.  Niantic has been pretty consistent with updates, improving the game with each version that releases. Whether it be bug fixes, or adding in new features, updates have been coming to the application at least once a month.

A new feature has been added to this release called "Buddy". This allows the player to select a specific Pokemon to walk with the player to earn additional candies. This allows for faster evolution for some of those harder to capture 2nd and 3rd-tier Pokemon such as Gyrados and Charizard.  This is extremely helpful as well to those who do not live near many Pokestops or spawn areas where it is difficult to obtain Pokemon to farm for candies.

Me and my buddy Magikarp

Recently, you may have read stories on the Internet about how the Pokemon Go user base has declined some insane amount. And while that may be true, there is still a huge hardcore following of the game as I found out first hand. About a week ago Next Gen Dave and I took a trip to the famed Battery Park in our area, which is about 15 minutes away from our homes. This park has been notorious for awesome Pokemon spawns and multiple Pokestops in close proximity. Dave and our friend Bobby have ventured to this park before, and returned to Dean and I with tales of Poke-awesomeness. This was the first time I was able to go, and I wasn't disappointed. I added six new Pokemon to my Pokedex, caught TWO Dratinis, and a ton of Magikarp. There were a bunch of people there, all doing the same thing. When a rare Pokemon spawned, the crowd began to get excited and louder. During lulls filled with the dreaded Rattata and Pidgey, the crowd was near silent. Gyms kept going back and forth between factions, and everyone seemed to be having a great time. I would estimate there were at least 100 different people there playing the game on a Sunday evening. Dave and I spent about an hour there, and then returned to his house to have a refreshing Hi-C Ecto Cooler beverage. Appropriate.

Dozens of people in one section of the park trying to catch some rare Pokemon.

I don't think Pokemon Go is going to fade away anytime soon. Niantic can still do a whole lot with the application, including the coveted trading feature that has been promised but not yet implemented. There are over 700 Pokemon creatures in the Poke-universe, so there is plenty of room to expand from the current list of 151 that are available. There also is the Pokemon Go Plus accessory that is yet to be released that is supposed to allow a user to collect items in the game without actually using the app directly. Finally, Niantic announced at the Apple press conference last week the Pokemon Go application for the Apple Watch 2 which looks really slick.  Don't believe the hype, Pokemon Go is here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.

Tons of Pokestops with lures galore and rare Pokemon to be found.

A refreshing 90's beverage for a job well done!

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