Pokemon Go is set to debut a new game feature in the near future, which will incentivize players for scanning locations with their phone cameras. Earlier this year, ComicBook.com reported on Pokemon Go's plans to add a "power up" mechanic to PokeStops, which would reward trainers with additional items. Today, Niantic officially confirmed that the powering up mechanic would be added to the game soon and would tie into the AR mapping the company wants players to complete at various key locations.
"You'll be able to power up certain PokéStops and Gyms for a limited period of time by completing AR Mapping tasks," Niantic explains in a blogpost about the new feature. "Powered-Up PokeStops will look different on the map, and any Trainer who spins one will earn extra rewards. As more Trainers level 20 and above perform AR scans of a PokeStop, the rewards for spinning it will increase, and the PokéStop will be powered up for a longer period of time. Powered-Up PokeStops will have three visually distinct levels, and they'll level up as more Trainers work together to scan the PokeStop."
PokeStops can be powered up to three levels, with five scans triggering the first power-up, ten scans triggering the second power-up, and 25 scans triggering the third and final power-up. Notably, powering up a PokeStop will benefit all trainers, not just the trainers who scan a specific location.
The new feature seems to be a new incentive to get players to provide free data to Niantic that they can use to build an AR mapping database and build a 3D map of the world....or at least of certain notable locations. The goal for Niantic is to build a new kind of interactive experience that allows its users and customers to experience a location without actually having to go there. To pull off this kind of experience, Niantic needs a lot of data....hence the need to leverage its Pokemon Go playerbase to collect said data. This isn't exactly a new concept for Niantic – the maps and geolocation used in various Niantic games were mostly supplemented by its playerbase via crowdsourcing.