Niantic has unveiled a new social media app that doubles as a companion to Pokémon Go, introducing a slate of new features to the game.
Although not specifically created for Pokémon Go, Campfire is pitched (opens in new tab) as a social networking app that can be used in conjunction with the developer’s augmented reality mobile games. It includes a slate of features that fans have been asking Niantic to add to the Pokémon Go app for years.
An integrated messaging system will let you chat with other users, and you’ll be able to organize meet-ups with local players. It’ll also mark Gyms and Raids on your map as players are battling for them in real-time, in an effort to promote the game’s social elements.
Campfire is already live for Ingress, Niantic’s other hit AR mobile game, and Eurogamer (opens in new tab) reports it’ll be rolling out to Pokémon Go this summer. Screenshots of the new app in action show the Pokémon Go and Ingress logo beside one another in a column, suggesting you’ll be able to switch between various Niantic games at the tap of a button.
“Campfire is a real-world social network which starts with a map and adds people, events, communities, and messaging,” Niantic said in the announcement.
“We think of it as the ‘homepage’ of the real-world metaverse – a place where players can discover other players in their local area, message one another and share content, organize their own events and meetups, and foster the kinds of real-world social connections that have always been at the core of what Niantic does.”
More social, more of the time
Pokémon Go players might be a little annoyed that Niantic isn’t rolling out an integrated messaging and meet-up system directly to the game’s app, but this is certainly better than nothing. Campfire will at least give players a way of accessing several much-requested features, even if you have to download a separate platform to access them.
Niantic is likely reticent to integrate a direct messaging system into the Pokémon Go app itself to issues over moderation and misuse. By shifting the feature to a separate app, it can maintain the game as a child-friendly space.
Campfire isn’t the only change coming. Last week, it was revealed that Pokémon Go is rolling out a bunch of exclusive freebies for Prime members. If you’re subscribed to Amazon’s premium service, you can bag some free poké balls and items throughout the next few months.