Pokemon GO update adds Sapphire and Ruby characters & lifelike weather effects

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Pokemon GO creator Niantic is updating the popular mobile game with a glut of new features. For its most significant bump in quite some time, Pokemon GO adds a number of characters from the Sapphire and Ruby era including Mudkip, Treecko and Torchic, as part of a rollout that will see the introduction of some 50 creatures from the Hoenn region. Additionally, dynamic weather support means that a Pokemon hunter's own climate can influence the game itself.

The world of AR, shorthand for augmented reality, is a truly fascinating one. It's been gaining a lot of traction in the mobile arena, and Pokemon GO has been among the first to intertwine the digital world with real-life surroundings on a grand scale. The new update for Pokemon GO makes things even more intriguing in this regard with dynamic weather, which essentially means that the weather conditions within a player's proximity are recognized by the game's animations in real time. 

If it's raining outside, Pokemon GO will include rain; on a bright summer's day, the sun will beam down in-game — and so forth. The kind of weather a user experiences will also affect which Pokemon are likely to be discovered. So during a downpour, one would be more likely to spot, say, a Vaporeon, Squirtle or other such water Pokemon. Moreover, creatures better acclimatised to certain weather will naturally be stronger in those conditions and hindered during others, so training and battles could be greatly swayed by weather's whim.

On the face of it, this seems a very exciting twist, and it will be interesting to see how the latest update is received. Niantic has sought to reinvest some of that $1 billion+ generated in revenue into improving the experience for the millions of Pokemon hunters worldwide, and this update will surely keep them on their toes. With trainers now forced to take into consideration local weather, season and ecology in order to progress and eventually complete their Pokedexes, the climb to achievement just became a considerably more strategic one. 

According to Niantic global product marketing lead Archit Bhargava, the 50 new creatures will arrive in a staged roll-out, bringing the total number of available Pokemon up to 300. Given that the total roster of Pokemon exceeds 800, though, there's much more potential for expansion in future.  

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