Handheld version of the Pokemon games use to take years for a new generation release, Pokemon Red and Blue came out in 1996, and 22 years later, there have been seven generations. But unlike them, Pokemon Go came out in July 2016, and not even two years later we’re almost done releasing Gen 3.
One of the reason is that handheld games had to create an entirely new game for every new generation they released but in Pokemon Go they have to just put the new Pokemon’s in the exsisting framework.
The Ruby/Sapphire Gen 3 is almost done in Pokemon Go, so it’s not too early to think about Generation 4, the Diamond/Pearl era.
Pokemon Go Releases:
July 2016: Gen 1
December 2016: Small Gen 2 group (babies)
February 2017: Vast majority of Gen 2
October 2017: Small Gen 3 group (ghosts)
December 2017: First large chunk of Gen 3
January 2017-Present: Ongoing Gen 3
So going by the above timeline it takes around 6-7 months from a Gen launch to few Pokemon of next Gen release and 7-9 months for the mass release of next Gen.
But with Gen Niantic made it more staggered and longer. Gen 3’s release has been going on since October, about four months ago.
This is way better than just dumping 150 new Pokemon at once as they can keep the players engaged for a longer period of time. So by the time players will be done with Gen 3, Gen 4 will be almost there.
So going by the above timeline Gen 4 will start at least teasing its Pokemon by May/June, with a full release June/July.
June/July release of maybe a little later is also ideal as it will be summers and the best time to go out and play an AR game. As opposed to Gen 2 and Gen 3 winter release when players cannot go out.
Gen 4 has lesser Pokemon then Gen 3. with just over 100 new Pokemon. But It will be a fun generation, with the “creation trio” of Legendaries, Diagla, Palkia and Girantina that are pretty much Pokémon Gods for all intents and purposes.
If Niantic sticks to this timeline then they will probably release all seven current generations within its first 3-4 years on the market. But by then, there might also be a Generation 8, released on the Switch, and wouldn’t that be something if GO and The Pokemon Company managed to coordinate a simultaneous release?