Update 1, 5:30 p.m. PT: Players from Level 30 to 40 now have access to Friends and Trading, with the rest being gradually rolled out.
Pokémon Go's new friends and trading features are now live, and with it, an unexpected barrier to entry. Upon logging in, many have found that they're required to be at Level 40 before getting access to trading or befriending other players. And being friends with others is required for trading.
We’re gradually rolling out Friends and Trading. Currently, Trainers who are level 40 can now use these features. Thanks for your patience as we work to make these features available to a larger number of Trainers.— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) June 21, 2018
Niantic's blog from earlier this week announcing that friends and trading was coming to Pokémon Go showed no details of a level requirement to access the new features, only that trainers needed to be "level 10 or higher" when trading Pokémon when nearby a friend. Niantic Support tweeted that trading and friends functionality will be a slow roll out (hence the high level requirement), due to the large number of players. When raids also first came to Pokémon Go, it was also only reserved for level 40 players too. Soon after it was lowered, and made more accessible to a wider set of players.
We've reached out to Niantic for comment on when more players will be able to access Pokémon Go's new friends and trading, and will update this article when we hear any other details. In the meantime, Regice has joined raid battles with the big update, with Regirock and Registeel planned for the future. You can also check out our extensive Pokémon Go guides for help in nabbing those pesky pocket monsters in the wild.