Niantic and the Pokémon Company International today revealed dynamic new ways for Trainers to play and explore together this summer with significant updates to Pokémon GO. Beginning today, revamped Gyms will begin rolling out to players, while a later update will introduce a brand-new cooperative group gameplay feature, Raid Battles. These features will be added as free updates to the game, which can be downloaded now from the App Store and Google Play.

Coming soon to Trainers worldwide, Gyms in Pokémon GO are undergoing a major upgrade to make ownership more collaborative, and to encourage all players to visit friendly Gyms and engage with them in a variety of new ways. The new Gyms will add a spinnable Photo Disc (just like PokéStops) that will distribute unique items. Trainers will also receive Gym Badges—mementos of adventures that they can level up to earn increased rewards and bonus items at Gyms.

Gyms will now feature six permanent slots that can be filled by the controlling team’s Pokémon, and opposing teams will battle Pokémon in the order they were assigned to the Gym. The new motivation system introduces an interactive factor for Pokémon assigned to a Gym that will impact their potential Combat Power (CP). Pokémon defending a Gym will lose motivation over time and as they are defeated, lowering their effective CP and making it easier for opposing teams to defeat them. However, Trainers from the same team can give defending Pokémon Berries to keep them motivated.

Raid Battles, the brand-new cooperative social gameplay experience, will be coming in another update in the weeks ahead. Trainers will have the opportunity to team up with others nearby and work together to defeat extremely powerful Pokémon known as Raid Bosses. Raid Battles are timed in-game events that will temporarily take over a Gym, providing Trainers from all teams the chance to visit the Gym and group up together to challenge the Raid Boss and potentially earn special new items along with an opportunity to catch these Pokémon. Friends can also create Private Raid groups via a customizable code system that allows Trainers to invite their friends to a specific Raid group.

Even with all these latest updates, it’ll be fascinating to see whether this will bring back players who dropped off after the first couple of months. Hopefully, it does and we can see even more interesting updates down the line.

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