'Pokémon GO' PvP trainer battle mode to release soon?

Reuters/Sam Mircovich
The augmented reality mobile game 'Pokemon Go' by Nintendo is shown on a smartphone screen in this photo illustration taken in Palm Springs, California U.S. on July 11, 2016.

Developer Niantic Labs is reportedly hard at work on the next update for "Pokémon GO," which may already include a battle system between trainers.

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, The Pokémon Company CEO Tsunekazu Ishihara hinted that Niantic Labs is already readying a number of updates for the popular augmented-reality game, "Pokémon GO." One of the updates purportedly has to do with a player-versus-player mode, which means battles between Pokémon trainers will soon be coming to the app.

Ishihara stated that "Battling is a category that we do best at Pokemon, after all." The company executive also mentioned that a battle system between trainers is a signature feature for the franchise, and adding it to "Pokémon GO" will make the game more popular for both hardcore fans and casual players. "It's important to really carefully consider any feature that may increase the difficulty and raise the barrier to entry for more casual users," Ishihara added.

Meanwhile, it is unclear if the upcoming battle system will come out as a bundled update together with a rumored Pokémon trading feature. Previously, Niantic Labs CEO John Hanke has teased that a trading system is on the way for "Pokémon GO" players. When the trading feature goes live, this means that "Pokémon GO" players will be able to exchange and switch Pokémon with one another.

The two upcoming features are expected to be independent of another rumored major update for the game. According to speculations, the upcoming systems are part of gameplay updates for "Pokémon GO." Meanwhile, a major update will separately launch, and will add new content to the game. Rumor has it that the major update will roll out early next year and will include adding second-generation Pokémon to the roster, among others. There are also expected tweaks in the system and design for the game, such as customizable Pokéstops.

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