Pokemon GO: Niantic expands Nearby Pokemon feature as Ditto Pokemon debuts

Niantic's Nearby Pokemon feature has now been extended to select US regions, Canada and Australia.

Pokemon GO
The Nearby Pokemon feature has now been extended to select US regions, Canada and Australia

Avid Pokemon GO fans are in for a special treat as the game developer Niantic Labs has rolled out the highly-anticipated 'Nearby Pokemon' feature to select regions across the world with some major server-side changes to the game. The Nearby feature which was initially restricted to just San Francisco (California), has now been extended to some other regions including select parts of the US and Canada, as well as all states and territories across Australia.

The Nearby feature expansion from Niantic follows the company's recent announcement of the Thanksgiving double XP event for the game.

Niantic had earlier removed the footsteps feature from the game owing to some inherent bugs and technical issues. However, the developer had promised to bring back an improved system for tracking nearby Pokemons and it seems the game maker has lived up to the fan expectations with the expansion of Nearby Pokemon feature out of the silicon city in the US.

Although the Nearby Pokemon feature differs completely from the footsteps feature in the game, it helps trainers to track down select Pokemons around their locality more easily.

Pokemon GO: Nearby Pokemon Tracking feature
Pokemon GO: Niantic expands Nearby Pokemon feature as Ditto Pokemon debuts

The Nearby feature reportedly works fine when the trainer is positioned in the vicinity of a Pokestop and it transforms to the Sightings view when you are away from a Pokestop.

As these new features are being rolled out in phases, curious Pokemon GO players should check out the following excerpts from the Niantic press release to determine if they would get a chance to test the updated version of Nintendo's popular augmented-reality game:

We will be expanding the ability for Trainers to test this updated version of the features and provide us with feedback. Starting today, Trainers in the following areas will now be able to use the new Nearby and Sightings functionality:

  • United States of America: All states west of the Mississippi River (except Hawaii and Alaska)
  • Canada: British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the western half of Ontario.
  • Australia: All states and territories

As the Nearby Pokemon feature is still under testing, it may harbour some untested bugs or broken features, which will be fixed in the upcoming game updates.

Consequently, Niantic has chosen to release the 'Nearby' feature to select few members of the Pokemon GO community. This will help the developer to collate user information and feedback about the ensuing problems while using this feature and then rollout specific bug fixes.

Debut of Ditto Pokemon in Pokemon GO

Ditto Pokemon

The game code for latest version of Pokemon GO suggests the impending arrival of second generation Pokemons sometime soon or early next year.

However, several Pokemon GO players across the globe have allegedly been catching Ditto, the purple shape-shifting Pokemon, starting Wednesday night.

It is not yet clear if Niantic is rolling out the Ditto Pokemon as part of the new update featuring the 'Nearby Pokemon' function or as a separate feature through another update.

The Ditto normally appears on the Pokemap in disguise of common Pokemon like Magikarp, Pidgey, Rattata, Spearow, etc. It can later reveal itself in its real form through a cut scene, when the player has successfully caught the monster.