As of today, Pokemon Go is now compatible with Pokemon Home. This is exciting news for Pokemon fans, because it greatly expands the number of monsters that can be transferred from Niantic's popular mobile game to Pokemon Sword and Shield. It wouldn't be Pokemon if there weren't a lot of hoops to jump through, though, and Pokemon Go throws up quite a few barriers to getting your beloved Shiny Groudon over to the Nintendo Switch.
As of right now, if you want to complete a transfer from Pokemon Go to Pokemon Home, you need to fit the following requirements:
- You have to be Level 40 in Pokemon Go
- The "Go Transporter" item must have a sufficient amount of energy
- You must have already caught the Pokemon in Pokemon Sword and Shield, so you can't use Pokemon Go to fill your Pokedex
- Mega Evolutions, Shadow Pokemon, and unique costumes can't be transferred
Those are some pretty onerous restrictions, making it effectively impossible to transfer your entire collection over to Pokemon Sword and Shield in one go. Indeed, as someone currently trapped at Level 32 in Pokemon Go, I've yet to be able to access the feature at all. Alas, poor Shiny Dragonite, you appear to be doomed to remain trapped in the purgatory of Alameda, California.
Even if you do meet the level requirement, the energy requirements for the Go Transporter are a major sticking point. As detailed by Serebii, there are different energy costs for moving Pokemon, with a shiny legendary being enough to deplete it in one go. Once the energy is gone, it replenishes slowly, taking about a week to recharge fully... unless you're willing to spend 1000 coins.
As you might expect, Pokemon fans are already grumbling about these restrictions, characterizing it as a money grab by Niantic. It's in line with other moves designed to get players to shell out cash, like rolling out events that require large numbers of incubators and other premium items. It's still fairly generous compared to other mobile games, particularly the infamous "gacha" genre, but Niantic is definitely tightening its grip a bit heading into Year 5.
It might be too much to ask for Niantic to make the process entirely free, but that doesn't make it any less frustrating to see such barriers to entry being thrown up in what is ostensibly supposed to be one big ecosystem. It honestly brings me back to the bad old days of Pokemon Diamond and Pearl, when it was only possible to transfer six Pokemon per day. Nintendo eventually loosened up these restrictions; will Niantic?
Unfortunately, I suspect the answer to that question is "no." Appearing on the Good Vibes Gaming news show last night, I observed that Niantic is unlikely to want players to simply cash out of Pokemon Go by transferring their entire collection. Any feature that allows players to funnel rewards out of Niantic's ecosystem risks jeopardizing the almighty engagement metric, the number by which mobile games traditionally measure their success. For Niantic, Pokemon Sword and Shield seems to be a necessary evil for promoting the mobile game, nothing more.
Thankfully, there remain some workarounds. Even if you're not level 40, it's possible to launder Kanto-region monsters through Pokemon Let's Go to Pokemon Sword and Shield. What's more, based on Niantic's track record, the steep level requirement is unlikely to remain in place for very long, as Niantic typically lowers its requirements as its new feature rollouts progress.
The energy requirements will undoubtedly stay, however, and if you ever do decide to shift over a prized shiny, it will be a one-way trip—yet one more restriction seemingly designed to disincentivize transferring from Pokemon Go to Pokemon Home.
Ultimately, this may hurt Pokemon Go more than help it. Before hearing about all these restrictions, I figured Pokemon Go might be a useful way to obtain some of the Pokemon I don't already have, giving me reason to return after a yearlong absence. Unable to do even that much, though, I'll probably go on ignoring that particular part of the ecosystem. On that front, Pokemon Go's restrictive compatibility with Pokemon Sword and Shield may well go down as a missed opportunity in a period where Niantic could use all the players it can get.