The warmth and togetherness of the holiday season reminds some folks they're a little lacking in the "friend" department. Does this sound like you? Fah! To heck with fake human friendships! Soon you'll be able to become best pals with your Buddy Pokemon in Pokemon Go, and that's all the companionship you need in life.
Earlier today, Niantic sent out a press release detailing Pokemon Go's upcoming "Buddy Adventure" feature. It updated the official Pokemon Go blog with the new information, too. Long story short, you'll soon be able to interact with your chosen Buddy Pokemon on a much deeper level. You can pet them, feed them, and watch them follow you on the map screen.
Getting closer with your digital pal yields valuable rewards, too. It might bring you items and souvenirs, or help you catch slippery wild Pokemon. When you become "Good Buddies," you can see the Pokemon travel with you on the map screen and gauge how it's feeling via its profile page. A "Great Buddy" will help you catch elusive Pokemon and bring you items. An "Ultra Buddy" picks up souvenirs and lets you know about nearby places of interest. And a "Best Buddy" gets a ribbon they can show off, plus they get a CP boost for as long as they're your active buddy.
There are other benefits to making sure your pal is in good cheer. When it reaches the best mood possible, the distance your buddy needs to walk to find Candy will be cut in half. This will be a godsend for all those blasted Pokemon that require you to hike five kilometers to earn a single measly Candy.
(Oh, uh, did I say "blasted Pokemon?" I meant "Bestie Pokemon!" Please stay in a good mood, I'm tired of walking all over creation just to evolve a Larvitar.)
Finally, the Buddy Adventure update comes with a nice aside: Swapping Buddy Pokemon no longer resets the progress you've made towards earning a piece of Candy. Sweet.
If you're excited to launch your Pokemon into the real world using AR+, you won't have to contain yourself for much longer: According to Niantic, the Buddy Adventure update will roll out around the world "by 2020." Sounds like a guarantee you'll see out the year with at least one friend.
If you're a lapsed player who's thinking about returning, we've got Pokemon Go guides galore. It's everything you need to get back up to speed, and more.