Your Pikachu photos are about to look a lot better. Today, Niantic announced the latest feature coming to Pokémon Go — called “Go snapshot” — which will expand the photo capabilities in the game, building on the AR+ feature that first debuted in late 2017.
Currently, Pokémon Go players can take augmented reality photos of pokémon they encounter in the wild, and it has proved to be a popular feature — so much so that Niantic says players regularly requested more options. The new snapshot mode extends the feature to all the pokémon in your storage. Now, when you select a pokémon in your bag, there will be a camera icon, and from there, you can move to the snapshot tool. The process seems both simple and playful; to get a pokémon where you want it, you toss a pokéball in that spot, and it’ll appear, at scale. Building on the AR feature, you can then move around to capture your Squirtle from the ideal angle. You can even give your poké buddy a tap or brush to make sure it’s focused on you.
According to Niantic game designer Laura Warner, the goal was to make taking photos an easier process for players. “They’re taking these really amazing photos with the current technology, but they’re having to do it in very specific scenarios, like pokémon encounters,” she explains. “We just realized we should make it easier for them to take pictures. At any time of day, on any adventure a person is on, they should be able to take a picture with a pokémon in their inventory.”
The feature has been in the works for a while. Last year, Niantic brought Pokémon Go’s AR+ feature to Android, and from there, the studio began looking at ways to utilize more robust augmented reality features. That includes more advanced animations for individual monsters, like Charmander’s fiery tail, as well as more realistic shadows that make your pokémon appear more natural. Features like these should make your photos look better.
Warner says that the goal wasn’t just to make a basic camera in the game; it was to use these tools to make pokémon feel more real. “For us, it’s really important that pokémon feel like partners, that they feel like they’re a part of your world,” she says. “So we didn’t just want a simple camera app. We wanted it to feel like it’s bringing you a little bit closer to your pokémon.”
Any photos you take will be saved to your phone’s camera roll so that you can then share on whatever social network you please. And that kind of virality will likely be key to Pokémon Go’s continued longevity. The game made an estimated $1.1 billion last year, topping the likes of PUBG and Candy Crush as Niantic continued to release anticipated features like trading and battling.
Niantic says that the snapshot tool will be launching “soon” on both iOS and Android.