Niantic has released a statement that reveals that online battles will finally be heading to Pokemon Go in early 2020 in a new feature called Go Battle League. The details are fairly threadbare at the moment but they said they’ll be sharing more details in a Dev Insights video soon.
Go Battle League will apparently build upon the Trainer Battles that currently exist within the game. Players will be able to battle people from around the world via an online matching system. As it’s a league, winning will net you some kind of points that will allow you to increase your ranking.
But, in an attempt to remain loyal to the ethos of Pokemon Go, players won’t be able to just lay in bed and take on opponents from the other side of the globe. The statement says that players will have to do a bit of walking to be able to enter the Go Battle League.
The statement also says they want to make the battling experience both more accessible and competitive. To me, this suggests that the walking aspect may only exist to ensure players are still getting out and about and may literally be a number of steps rather than having to find a location you can do the battles from.
This would be of great benefit to players who live in areas with very few PokeStops or Gyms. If they can just go for a quick walk around the block and then have access to online battles then they’d be able to get a lot more out of a game that currently doesn’t do a lot for them. Time will tell exactly what these entry requirements will be though.