Just some thoughts on making the gym system less predatory and more like the way it's depicted.
First, let's establish a few observations:
- The gym fights take place in a big stadium where presumably people are watching.
- The Pokémon actually want to fight, and get something out of it.
- The Pokémon are "kicked out" when defeated while out of "motivation", which implies that this is at least in part a choice to stay, or at least its state of mind is a relevant consideration.
- The Pokémon are not directly motivated by coins gained, as they cannot interact with the coins directly at all.
Everything about the lore and the aesthetic and the in-battle mechanics is geared towards ritual social violence, but the social dynamic for the actual players is almost pure resource predation
: all your incentives have you getting in through the path of least resistance and avoid engagement as long as possible until it's time to collect the reward (possibly through your opposing-team alt account created for this purpose, if your gym is particularly well hidden).
So with that in mind, I'd like to imagine going to a better monstrous pocket dimension. I can think of a few marketing, accessibility and lore reasons why nothing remotely like this will ever reach PoGo, but hey, if I ever get to develop an AR monster fighting app...( Basically, the monster's honour must be satisfied before it is willing to leave. Also, chairs. )
And, of course, anyone would be able to spectate any ongoing fight.