Pokemon Sword and Shield won't support Pokemon Global Link for competitive play

Pokemon Sword and Shield
(Image credit: Nintendo)

The Pokemon Company has confirmed Pokemon Sword and Shield will not use Pokemon Global Link, which has been a mainstay feature in the series for many years. Global Link is used for online multiplayer competitions, and also lets you track your battle rankings in competitive play. “For Pokemon Sword and Shield, services equivalent to the current Rating Battle and Online Competitions are planned to be supported,” the official post released at Gamescom 2019 states, “however, PGL will not support Pokemon Sword and Shield.” 

Instead, battles and competitions will use Nintendo Switch’s connectivity features, meaning anyone who wants to get stuck into any kind of competitive play will need a Nintendo Switch Online subscription. Some of Global Link’s features such as rankings and event calendars are set to be implemented using the recently announced Pokemon Home, a new Cloud service for iOS and Android. The service is due to launch in early 2020, and is also supposed to act as a replacement for the Pokemon Bank system that allows you to store and transfer Pokemon across multiple Pokemon games. 

Pokemon Global Link was first introduced into the series in Black and White, where you would use Dream Smoke to sync your game up to the online features. Pokemon Sword and Shield’s ranked mode Battle Stadium has a five-tier ranking system and will match you against other trainers of similar ranking. Official competitions will also be held that will all have their own specific regulations, but The Pokemon Company revealed that any players who do well in the competitions may even have the chance to take part in the World Championships. 

Want to see more of Pokemon Sword and Shield? Go on a tour through an idyllic little town in the Galar region, featuring a train station and lots of Wooloos.

Heather Wald
Senior staff writer

I started out writing for the games section of a student-run website as an undergrad, and continued to write about games in my free time during retail and temp jobs for a number of years. Eventually, I earned an MA in magazine journalism at Cardiff University, and soon after got my first official role in the industry as a content editor for Stuff magazine. After writing about all things tech and games-related, I then did a brief stint as a freelancer before I landed my role as a staff writer here at GamesRadar+. Now I get to write features, previews, and reviews, and when I'm not doing that, you can usually find me lost in any one of the Dragon Age or Mass Effect games, tucking into another delightful indie, or drinking far too much tea for my own good.