In an effort to keep Pokémon GO‘s sizable 65 million worldwide player base on board—and find new recruits who didn’t get hooked last summer—developer Niantic and The Pokémon Company have unleashed a raft of new updates for their groundbreaking AR mobile game.
A new Gyms update, which is available now on the App Store and Google Play, makes ownership more collaborative and encourages all players to visit friendly gyms and engage with them in new ways. (Gyms are in-game, real-world spots that players try to claim for their team.)
A spinable Photo Disc that can distribute new items and is similar to PokéStops has been added to the update, and players can now earn gym badges that they can level up for more rewards and bonus items. In addition, each new gym now holds up to six Pokémon, and players battle Pokémon in the order in which they were assigned to a gym, instead of fighting them from weakest to strongest.
A new motivation system is also featured in the gyms update that sees Pokémon lose motivation over time or whenever they are defeated, thus temporarily lowering their maximum combat power. However, any player from the same team can feed berries to a gym’s Pokémon to lift their motivation.
The game’s second major new update is Battle Raids, a cooperative social gameplay experience where players can team up with others nearby and work together in timed in-game events to defeat extremely powerful Pokémon known as Raid Bosses. Private Raid groups can also be created via a customizable code system that lets players invite their friends to a specific Raid group. (More information about the updates is available on the official Pokémon GO blog.)
The updates follow the addition of new features earlier this year, including 80 new pocket monsters. Prior to that update, the IP launched sponsored gyms in late 2016 that saw approximately 7,800 Starbucks stores across the US turn into PokéStops. (Starbucks even provided a drink called the Pokémon GO Frappuccino. A similar stunt with McDonald’s was pulled when the game initially launched in Japan.)
As for other new extensions, Niantic’s first live Pokémon GO event, Pokémon GO Fest, will unfold in Chicago’s Grant Park on July 22.