Senior Product Manager Tatsuo Nomura referred to it as one while speaking with Polygon. Nomura also mentions that that when it launches, trading “won’t be through the internet,” and that while online trading might be seen by some as a way to potentially help rural players, the developers’ goal is more about potential distribution for regional Pokemon (such as North American Tauros or South American Heracross). You’ll need to be in close proximity to your trading partner, though don’t expect it until at least later this year, as the company is worried it may kill the game. The team is trying to improve the gameplay experience for rurals still, but no specifics were given.
Perhaps this is partially why company president John Hanke discussed the gym situation with Wired, and yes, Hanke mentions attempts to combat spoofers. Translations note that an overhaul of the gym system is the team’s “next step,” wanting to get more people into the gym scene and to have gyms focus on teamwork. Supposedly, legendaries will also be available later this year, as will player vs. player battles.
While it’s not legendary, Japan is hosting its second Pokemon GO event, this time featuring Snorlax. Perhaps, like Lapras, this is an event paid for by the local government, as the area is set to cover Kumamoto and areas affected by the April 14th, 2016, earthquake. Hopefully these events will give Niantic help preparing for the 1,000+ people events and weather effects Niantic Visual Design Director Dennis Hwang noted at his GDC presentation.
Finally, for lore hounds, Niantic promises it hasn’t forgotten about the game’s story; it’s just a focus that gets left behind in favor of a gameplay first prioritization, similar to another company MMO players are familiar with.