While platforms change and technology evolves, Game Freak has always strived to ensure that Pokémon fans’ ever-growing collections are never left behind. Ever since the franchise’s inception, Trainers have been able to migrate their entire Pokédex to each new Generation, and this year’s Pokémon Sword and Shield, while placing restrictions on the process, will let fans continue to do so. The traditional method of doing so, however, is undergoing several radical changes.
First and foremost, direct transfer over Wi-Fi is no longer a possibility due, in large part, to the series’ jump from handheld to home console. The Switch has no built-in connectivity features with Nintendo’s 3DS. To account for that, a new service, Pokémon Home, is scheduled to launch sometime in 2020 and serves as a hub, of sorts, for a players’ Pokémon regardless of its source.
Niantic’s Pokémon Go has previously been confirmed to be a part of the service, though unlike last year’s Let’s Go! spinoffs, the mobile title won’t be able to directly interact with Sword and Shield.
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Confirming the somewhat disappointing news to Eurogamer in a recent interview, Game Freak’s Junichi Masuda said:
“In Pokémon Sword and Shield there’s no direct communication with Pokémon Go, but you’ll have seen the announcement for Pokémon Home, where there are plans to be able to send Pokémon from Pokémon Go, and take them around with you, so that’s something we do have.”
Under the new system, then, Pokémon Go players will have no other option than to use Pokémon Home as a halfway house, so to speak, that bridges the gap between it and Sword and Shield. As to why the developer has decided to adopt the somewhat counterintuitive process this time around, Masuda doesn’t say, though the decision likely comes as a result of it wanting to centralize the transfer process with the aforementioned Home app.
As for Pokémon Go itself, recent leaks have suggested that Niantic plans to celebrate the launch of Sword and Shield next month by introducing several new Pokémon. See here for all the details.