“Pokémon Go” players are getting more and more frustrated with the game’s developer, Niantic Inc. – especially after the latest update issued over the weekend.
As of Monday morning, Pokéstops in the game – which you spin to collect items and experience points when you walk near them – will no longer work if you’re traveling above a certain speed.
Previously, you could still spin Pokéstops if you were traveling above “walking” speed – in a car or a train, for instance – as long as you clicked a pop-up button that said “I’m a passenger.” But that’s no longer the case.
Fans are not happy. Just check out the top three posts on the ‘Pokémon Go’ subreddit (750,000 subscribers) on Monday morning:
There are literally hundreds of comments on each of these posts. Feel free to check out the top post – I would show you myself, but it’s a minefield of explicit language.
In general, though, fans are upset about this update for a handful of reasons:
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1) As the weather gets colder, people have fewer reasons to go outside – and now you essentially can’t play if you go for a drive or a ride.
2) So many people spin Pokéstops while driving because their area, geographically, has relatively few Pokéstops and none of them are walking distance.
3) Niantic didn’t note this particular change in the patch notes of its latest update, thus fueling the narrative that Niantic doesn’t communicate well enough with its user base.
4) Other features – like the ability to buy products from the “Pokémon Go” store – still work when you’re traveling too fast, which seems hypocritical if Niantic really cares about people being safe while they drive.
5) It’s yet another change that makes “Pokémon Go” less fun to play.
We’ve reached out to Niantic to learn more about this particular change to the game, and why it was implemented while other features – like buying items from the in-game store – still work if you’re traveling too fast.
“Pokémon Go” was a global phenomenon when in launched back in July. But since then, Niantic has continually come under fire – for not rolling out features it advertised months ago, while also making changes that made many fans upset.
Here are two particular instances. First, Niantic made a lot of people unhappy when it shut down its in-game system for finding and tracking Pokémon, which was one of the main draws to the game. Second, Niantic’s decision to shut down beloved third-party tracking apps that used the game’s code to function, saying they were “interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users.”
We’ve previously noted how it’s not too late for Niantic.
“Pokémon Go” could recapture its former glory by meeting the needs of its most hardcore fans. Many people stopped playing because they reached a plateau, making it difficult to 1) level up and get more items that make the game fun, and 2) catch more Pokémon they don’t have. Niantic needs to fix these issues to make playing feel like less of a grind – accepting requests to add Pokéstops to the game would be a huge help – but it also needs to add more features to keep things fresh.
And it should seriously reconsider the way its “I’m a passenger” feature works. If you say you are a passenger in a car, you should still be allowed to play the full game, period. Until Niantic starts paying attention to its fans, expect this game’s precipitous fall from grace to continue.