When Pokemon Go first announced the Buddy System in 2016, we thought it would be a true multiplayer system. It wasn’t, but maybe we’re finally getting it soon, at least for POGO players level 15+, in the form of the newly announced Party Play.
Niantic characterizes Party Play as a grouping mechanic that will allow up to four nearby players to join up in-game for challenges and quests. As is usual for Niantic, the studio has given only fuzzy details of the mechanic while simultaneously announcing an upcoming event linked to the feature, but it does tease a Party Power feature, which generates in raids from Fast Attacks and doubles the damage to Charged Attacks when activated, potentially making in-person raids significantly easier and possibly even shaking up the game’s raid meta.
But it’s worth pointing out that some of Niantic’s newest features and apps – like Routes and Campfire – raised immediate red flags for safety and security, so as fun as the Party Play feature sounds, users should be on the lookout for safety issues upon its eventual launch. Already the Known Issues page isn’t inspiring a lot of player confidence, with issues ranging from graphical bugs to official Bluetooth peripherals (like the new Go Plus+) not contributing to group goals.
10/16 Update: Apparently the feature goes live on October 17th at 9am local time from several reports on Reddit discussing the associated research. As Redditors note, it does feel like it benefits multi-accounters, the act of which is against the game’s TOS but is anecdotally only enforced when combined with more serious offenses, such as harassment or spoofing. As the known rewards are currently shirts with various Eeveelutions, this may not be too significant for players lacking a local community, but the event is still quite new and the reward pokemon could change this.