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The Poké Walker functions by "converting" the interactions made by the user into maturity, or experience points, for the Pokémon. Users can transfer a Pokémon from anywhere in their possession - be it the Party, Daycare, PC, and so on - into the Poké Walker. From that point forward, any interactions performed will count as "steps" on the Poké Walker. These steps are then converted into experience points, awarded to the Pokémon upon removal from the Poké Walker. If the Pokémon has gained enough experience points to level up, this will also be reflected upon removal.
The formula used to calculate the experience rewarded per step is unknown. It is currently believed that between 100 and 200 experience points are awarded per Poké Walker step, with higher amounts awarded the longer a Pokémon is left in the Poké Walker.
When a Pokémon is withdrawn from the Poké Walker, there is a chance that it will return with an Accessory; a message box will appear on the user's screen indicating the name of the Accessory. If the user has purchased a Fashion Case, the Accessory will be added to their Inventory. Once a user already possesses 10 of an Accessory, however, any additional ones obtained will be automagically sold for half their purchase price.
A Pokémon can return with an Accessory at any time after being placed in the Poké Walker, but the chances increase the longer the Pokémon has been in the device. Additionally, certain accessories can only be found by specific types of Pokémon (e.g. Fire-type Pokémon being able to find Red Feathers).
Two Account Upgrades improve the efficiency and functionality of the Poké Walker. The Bicycle, obtained from the Shop for 30,000 Points, will increase the number of steps obtained when the user performs interactions. As with the amount of experience awarded per step, the number of additional steps granted is variable, with lower estimates suggesting two additional steps for every five interactions. This upgrade naturally allows for faster leveling of the Pokémon placed in the device.
The Scouter is obtained by completing the IT'S OVER NINE THOUSAND!! Achievement, which requires one Pokémon to obtain over 9,000 steps in a single Poké Walker session. This device will estimate the level at which the Pokémon will be when removed from the Poké Walker; both a notification bubble at the corner of the Pokétch tab and a line of text within the Pokétch panel itself will reveal the minimum level the Pokémon will be when leaving the Poké Walker, called the "Power Level" of the Pokémon. Specifically, the line of text will phrase the Pokémon's level at "over X thousand", with X being the lowest possible level.
The level estimated will be the lowest possible level; more often than not, Pokémon will have reached a higher level than displayed depending on how many steps have been accumulated and the number of experience points required to reach a new level. For example, a Level 1 Pokémon that accumulates 250 steps might display a "Power Level" of over 5 thousand if it requires 6000 experience points per level, and over 3 thousand if it requires 12500 experience points per level. If removed, the first Pokémon might be level 6 instead, while the second is more likely to be level 3 as predicted.
Two Achievements are directly related to the Poké Walker. The first, "IT's OVER NINE THOUSAND!!", was described above. The Achievement "Marathon Runner" can be unlocked after the user's Pokémon have found 100 or more accessories in the Poké Walker. The items do not have to be found by the same Pokémon, and any items sold automagically count toward the tally.