Shiny Pokémon are essentially rare collector's items and quite frankly, nothing more. The term "Shiny Pokémon" first originated amongst fans. It was adopted to reference the shimmering sound effect and animation at the start of one of these trophy encounters. Fancy entrances aside, the only difference between a shiny and the usual run of the mill Pokémon is its color variation.
With the launch of Pokémon Sword and Shield, there is a double incentive to go out shiny hunting in order to catch new square shinies - that's right, they're shiny and square. However, in light of a severely lacking end-game and neither form of shinies being any more useful than their dull-coated counterparts, the reinforced focus on shinies can't be justified.
With now two variations of shiny Pokémon to catch, "star" and "square", shiny hunters are twice as motivated to keep on the hunt. Star shinies are the original and when encountering shinies, it will most likely be this variation. Square shinies are a new variation of shiny Pokémon introduced in Sword and Shield. However, square shinies are no more special than star shinies aside from a fancier animation. Oh and after securing an already rare shiny catch there is only a 1/16 chance of it taking this square form- not great odds.
Yes, it's cool to have unique looking Pokémon, yes shinies are highly exclusive and square shinies more so. But, the fact remains there is nothing special about them except for bedazzled graphics and being extremely rare. Neither form boasts better stats than regular Pokémon, no special moves or abilities either. In some instances, the Pokémon's color hardly varies as in the case of shiny Pikachu.
In all reality, shiny Pokémon are taking away from the content of the game. There is (or should be) more to the games than catching rare forms of Pokémon. One of the overlying pursuits of each game is to complete the Pokédex already. Do trainers really need to pour time and resources into hunting different colors of the same Pokémon? This recent information concerning the two shiny effects in Sword and Shield has caused quite the stir amongst shiny hunters, but the games shouldn’t be let off so easily. There is a lot of work missing in the ending plotline, but fans are too busy hunting down the latest shiny additions to notice how badly executed the games truly are. After defeating the Ice Gym in Circhester, trainers continue down Route 9 and, if they don't get hung up in the chilly waves, soon find themselves outside Spikemuth where they're prompted to take on the next Gym almost immediately. This starts a hastily compiled chain of events that feels like the developers were just trying to wrap up and get home early.
Such a lazy ending and re-centered focus on the shiny hunt is not a good sign. Game Freak is continuing to churn out rehashed models of old Pokémon and lowering spawn rates while they're at it. If fans keep buying in, the developers likely won't feel as pressured to produce quality story content. Shiny hunters are just one faction of Pokémon's ginormous fanbase. As the games sacrifice depth of content for elitist collector trophies, they will risk driving away countless fans who were drawn to the games for its more immersive qualities.
Game Freak is using shiny Pokémon as a distraction and an easy out to writing solid material. The developers will cut more corners with plotlines and content development if the push for shinies continues. So don't get distracted like a toddler in a shop full of sparkling bobbles. It's up to the fans to demand better content from the game creators.