If you’re just getting started with Pokémon GO, welcome—although you’re a bit late to the party. The beloved game combines two of the most powerful forces in modern video gaming: microtransactions and nostalgia. Combine that with the inviolable edict of “Gotta catch ’em all,” a major case of FOMO, and one of the top Android phones with plenty of battery life, and you have a powerful behavioral driver that can only be satiated with one thing: PokéCoins.
PokéCoins are the in-game currency for Niantic’s augmented reality Pokémon game. Like all free-to-play games, you don’t need PokéCoins to play or progress in the game. Still, they can make the gameplay experience more enjoyable by allowing you to purchase items that are difficult (if not impossible) to obtain through regular gameplay.
How to get PokéCoins
There are two ways to get PokéCoins. You can invest cold, hard cash or you can invest time. If you want to give your money to Niantic in exchange for PokéCoins, there are six options available, ranging from 100 PokéCoins for $1 to 14,500 PokéCoins for $100. You can only purchase coins from the in-game shop. To get there from the game, follow these steps:
- Tap the Pokéball icon at the bottom of the screen.
- Touch the Shop icon.
- Scroll down until you reach the PokéCoins section.
- Select the coin bundle you’d like to purchase.
If you don’t like to spend real money on virtual items, invest your time to get your hands on some filthy PokéLucre. Specifically, you’ll have to spend your time defending a gym. For every 10 minutes you have a Pokémon in a gym, you could potentially earn one PokéCoin.
The catch is you only receive the payout when your Pokémon is knocked out of the gym, and you can only earn 50 coins per day. That means if you have two Pokémon that are knocked out of a gym on the same day, and they’ve been in their respective gyms for more than a combined eight hours, you’ll still only get 50 coins.
Defending a gym
Because of this hard limit, there’s no real trick to getting coins other than consistently going out, visiting gyms, and leaving a defender. That means that which Pokémon you leave as a defender can make a big difference in how many coins you get. If you leave something small like a Weedle or Rattata, there’s a good chance they’ll be booted from the gym in short order. If you leave something bulky, you stand a better chance of crossing that 10-minute threshold and earning at least one coin.
So who should it be? Blissey. The answer is Blissey. This egg-bearing beast of a gym defender can tank so much damage that some people won’t even bother spending their time trying to take it out. Still, not everyone has a beefy Blissey to help them hold off the red and yellow hordes trying to take down their gym. In that case, any high-CP Pokémon should do the trick, but you’ll be better served by leaving a defender of a different type than what’s already in the gym. The trick isn’t necessarily to cause or absorb the most damage. It’s to take up time and slow down the other players.
What to buy
Back in the early days (Pokémon GO has been out for over six years), there wasn’t much to buy in the shop besides Poké Balls and expanded storage. Today, there are dozens of ways to spend your in-game money. What you should buy depends on your current goals and needs.
For example, maybe you have a toddler and can’t get out much. You might like to remote raid for raid-exclusive Pokémon. You could also try to have a living Pokédex. To those ends, you might spend most of your coins on remote raid passes and expanded Pokémon storage. Some players are focused on leveling up and may invest more on lucky eggs. If you’re trying to improve your PVP game, you’ll want to buy extra star pieces.
More Pokémon Go money sources
One last note. If you haven’t heard about it yet, download Google Opinion Rewards to your phone. For answering short surveys about your opinions and shopping experiences, Google will give you Play Store credits which you can spend like real money in Pokémon GO. It’s an easy way steadily build up credits for when you need to buy a few extra coins to get that raid pass.