Niantic Responds to Pokemon GO Criticism

Steven Bogos

The Taco Man
Jan 17, 2013
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Niantic Responds to Pokemon GO Criticism

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Niantic has offered some insight on two recent controversial moves: the removal of Pokemon GO's step tracker, and the shutdown of third-party tracking sites.

Earlier this week, Pokemon GO developer Niantic made some rather controversial moves. First, it disabled the "bugged" Facebook post [http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/168069-Niantic-Disables-Pokemon-GO-Tracking-Shuts-Down-Third-Party-Tracking-Sites], it has officially responded.

"We have removed the '3-step' display in order to improve upon the underlying design," wrote the company. "The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature."

As for the shutdown of Pokevision, "We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokemon GO to users around the world." It continued to state that the global launch of the game has been much more challenging that expected, and still hopes to get it launched in territories like Brazil that still do not have it.

When the game went live in Japan, the "3-step" display was already bugged, so I can't comment too much on the usefulness of the feature. From the sounds of it though, it turned the game from more of a "let's go for a walk and see what Pokemon pop up" to an actual "let's hunt for specific Pokemon!"

Source: Facebook [https://www.facebook.com/PokemonGO/posts/940141879465704]

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Dead Metal

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Feb 7, 2010
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Nobody should miss the footprints, they never worked and made the whole thing super pointless.
 

Cowabungaa

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Might want to fix your title.

Anyway, I don't see how stuff like Pokevision interfered with their work. All it did was display information the app was sending out. Not that I liked it, but as they broke their own tracking feature I can't blame people for using this instead. Without all you can do is hope a Pokemon you want shows up. It's all random.

So I can't exactly call this a satisfying response. They handwaved players' concerns away and didn't really explain anything properly.
Dead Metal said:
Nobody should miss the footprints, they never worked and made the whole thing super pointless.
They did work. I tracked a Dratini and Eevee with them back before they broke it on purpose to decrease server loads. If anything they were the most interactive and 'deep' gameplay element the game had. It was the only thing that gave the player any real agency, as badly presented as it was. I didn't last long though so perhaps you missed its useful time.
 

bluegate

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Dead Metal said:
Nobody should miss the footprints, they never worked and made the whole thing super pointless.
Haha, no.

Cowabungaa said:
Anyway, I don't see how stuff like Pokevision interfered with their work. All it did was display information the app was sending out. Not that I liked it, but as they broke their own tracking feature I can't blame people for using this instead. Without all you can do is hope a Pokemon you want shows up. It's all random.
I imagine that Pokevision had a DDoS kind of effect on the servers of Niantic; a lot of server calls from a lot of people.
Not unlike a lot of people playing the game, I suppose, but chances are that the application itself doesn't poll the server for Pokemon location data as much as Pokevision allowed people to do.

On Topic;
Well Niantic, that wasn't so hard now, was it? Taking 5 minutes to draw up a post to provide your player base with information as to what is happening.
 

Saltyk

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Sep 12, 2010
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I just want the battery saver option back. It was apparently removed as well. Why? I tended to keep it on in my pocket at work so I could hatch eggs, but not the game likes to do stuff in my pocket (nothing too bad, but it might click on a nearby Pokemon or open the menu) and it kills my battery even faster. Without battery saver, it basically makes egg hatching way more difficult for me.

For the record, I could easily hatch 2-3 2 Kilometer eggs or a five kilometer egg each day at work.
 

Detroit

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Dec 22, 2012
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Saltyk said:
I just want the battery saver option back. It was apparently removed as well. Why? I tended to keep it on in my pocket at work so I could hatch eggs, but not the game likes to do stuff in my pocket (nothing too bad, but it might click on a nearby Pokemon or open the menu) and it kills my battery even faster. Without battery saver, it basically makes egg hatching way more difficult for me.

For the record, I could easily hatch 2-3 2 Kilometer eggs or a five kilometer egg each day at work.
No wonder I couldn't get my saver to work. I carried a portable charger with me and thought that was interfering with it somehow. I wonder how much it'll cost to hatch my 10km egg now.
 

Thatguyky

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They did work. I tracked a Dratini and Eevee with them back before they broke it on purpose to decrease server loads. If anything they were the most interactive and 'deep' gameplay element the game had. It was the only thing that gave the player any real agency, as badly presented as it was. I didn't last long though so perhaps you missed its useful time.
^ This. For the people that played when the game first released, whenever the servers were up and you could get in, you could indeed track near by Pokemon, which was rather fun. I managed to get a Dratini, Raichu, and Machop this way :D

Where as now I can't actively play the game. All I can do is flick it on and hope something neat pops up while I'm walking to the store or something. Doesn't matter if there's a Haunter near by, I have no idea what direction it's in. While that may be more accurate to how finding a pokemon would be (if they were real) ... it's certainly not as fun or great for a game, imo.
 

Gorrath

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I don't know if they broke it on purpose due to server issues but I can say that it did work at one point. How and why it broke, I don't know but to simply say that it never worked is a stretch. I will say that it never worked great, but it was better than having nothing.
 

Kingjackl

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I'm kind of preferring the current system, but I never really used the tracker to begin with. I'd just take the app with me on a walk, and catch whatever I ran into. Whenever I tried to use the footprints/leaves to find something, it never worked. The trade-off at the moment seems to be that they've improved the spawn placements and made it more diverse outside the big cities. The area surrounding my house is no longer just a smorgasbord of Rattata, Pidgey and Zubat. I caught 5 new Pokemon on my last walk.

The battery life seems to be improved as well: despite the lack of battery saver, I've been able to get a decent 45 minute walk out of the thing and still have juice to spare at the end. On the whole, the app feels more stable than it did back when it first launched. I get why there are complaints, but to be honest, I reckon this is the best Pokemon Go's been.
 

RaikuFA

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Kingjackl said:
The trade-off at the moment seems to be that they've improved the spawn placements and made it more diverse outside the big cities. The area surrounding my house is no longer just a smorgasbord of Rattata, Pidgey and Zubat. I caught 5 new Pokemon on my last walk.
You're lucky, I still get nothing but pidgey, rattatta and weedle. Only way I can get anything new is from hatching eggs which stopped tracking my steps in a weird way. I used to hatch a 5km egg going to and from work now it takes 3-4 days to hatch one.
 

Clankenbeard

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Mar 29, 2009
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Cowabungaa said:
Dead Metal said:
Nobody should miss the footprints, they never worked and made the whole thing super pointless.
They did work. I tracked a Dratini and Eevee with them back before they broke it on purpose to decrease server loads. If anything they were the most interactive and 'deep' gameplay element the game had. It was the only thing that gave the player any real agency, as badly presented as it was. I didn't last long though so perhaps you missed its useful time.
I have never had any luck with the tracker. I wasn't in at launch, so maybe I got updated out of that functionality. But my wife informs me there was functionality in the order that Pok?mon appeared on the list. The closest Pok?mon was first. The farthest was last, even when they all showed three feet.

Can you still track Pok?mon now (without any feet indicators) based on their relative position in the list? Like I want "THAT one". I walk one direction and "THAT one" shifts down in the list. So, I turn around and walk the opposite direction until it shifts back up. Eventually, I can home in on the one I want. Does this still work?
 

Kaimax

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Clankenbeard said:
Can you still track Pok?mon now (without any feet indicators) based on their relative position in the list? Like I want "THAT one". I walk one direction and "THAT one" shifts down in the list. So, I turn around and walk the opposite direction until it shifts back up. Eventually, I can home in on the one I want. Does this still work?
Yes, it still works.
The Tracker works like this, Top left means it's closer, while bottom right means further. I managed to track my Pikachu when it was still bugged. It was actually harder as there were only 3 mons at that time, 1 pikachu and 2 rattatas. I just walked east first until the Pikachu actually was gone from the tracker, tried walking the opposite direction made it appear on the tracker again. Finally found it when I was walking to the west of my location.

Walk into one direction while viewing the whole list of nearby pokemons, and observe how far or close the pokemon that you want from the upper left spot and just pray while you're doing this that you have enough time before it despawns
 

Aggieknight

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RaikuFA said:
You're lucky, I still get nothing but pidgey, rattatta and weedle. Only way I can get anything new is from hatching eggs which stopped tracking my steps in a weird way. I used to hatch a 5km egg going to and from work now it takes 3-4 days to hatch one.
The location that you are walking strongly dictates the what Pokeman you find. My home is nothing but Rattatas, Pidgeys, and the occasionally Evee during the day, but my office has bulbasaurs, dodrio, staryu, and horsea, with the occasional rhyhorn, magmar, and tauros. There is one park near my home with mewtwo and dragonites.

As for the footsteps, I miss them from when it worked. You could actually track Pokeman down (as someone else said). Now I can't seem to find much relation between the list and what I find.

Edit - totally not claiming to be playing this game at work...
 

Elvis Starburst

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Aggieknight said:
You had me until you straight up lied about this one. Mewtwo is in the game along with the other legendaries, but has data shown it has no catch rate right now. So it's probably not able to be caught at the moment.

I can confirm the trick that the pokemon are listed top left to bottom right in terms of closeness, so there's still a method to tracking these things. It simply requires you to move around some more. Different parts of town have different Pokemon as well. I can get Staryu, Rattata, Weedle, Caterpie and Magmar where I live, but I've found Pigdeotto in town as well
 

COMaestro

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May 24, 2010
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Saltyk said:
I just want the battery saver option back. It was apparently removed as well. Why? I tended to keep it on in my pocket at work so I could hatch eggs, but not the game likes to do stuff in my pocket (nothing too bad, but it might click on a nearby Pokemon or open the menu) and it kills my battery even faster. Without battery saver, it basically makes egg hatching way more difficult for me.

For the record, I could easily hatch 2-3 2 Kilometer eggs or a five kilometer egg each day at work.
What did they do to the battery saver? I still have a battery save option in the settings, my screen still dims when I turn it upside down and it tracks my movement just fine (or at least as well as it ever does).
 

Kaimax

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COMaestro said:
What did they do to the battery saver? I still have a battery save option in the settings, my screen still dims when I turn it upside down and it tracks my movement just fine (or at least as well as it ever does).
From what I read it froze some iphones, it was not removed for Android Phones
 

Sheo_Dagana

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Kaimax said:
Clankenbeard said:
Can you still track Pok?mon now (without any feet indicators) based on their relative position in the list? Like I want "THAT one". I walk one direction and "THAT one" shifts down in the list. So, I turn around and walk the opposite direction until it shifts back up. Eventually, I can home in on the one I want. Does this still work?
Yes, it still works.
The Tracker works like this, Top left means it's closer, while bottom right means further. I managed to track my Pikachu when it was still bugged. It was actually harder as there were only 3 mons at that time, 1 pikachu and 2 rattatas. I just walked east first until the Pikachu actually was gone from the tracker, tried walking the opposite direction made it appear on the tracker again. Finally found it when I was walking to the west of my location.

Walk into one direction while viewing the whole list of nearby pokemons, and observe how far or close the pokemon that you want from the upper left spot and just pray while you're doing this that you have enough time before it despawns
It doesn't work for everyone. The position of a Pokemon on the Nearby list was never a great indicator of how close you were to it... hence, the feet. Just because the Meowth I'm chasing drops down to second doesn't mean I'm getting further away, it may mean that a newer, closer Pokemon spawned. I tried to chase an Ivysaur down this morning on my way back from work (he suddenly appeared in my top three so it's not like he despawned) and had no luck trying this method. Pokemon appear within a certain radius, and my following the feet, it was pretty easy to track them. Once you understood how the radii worked, my friends and I had no trouble finding whatever we were after.

In fact, in my area, Pokemon that aren't even on my list appear, and I'm not just talking about a rare or uncommon Pokemon or two, that happens, but Venonats and Drowzees that weren't on my nearby list at all showed up before any of my top 3. Hunting is borked until Niantic decides to fix it, which is annoying, because that's how I was having fun with the game... hunting Pokemon with my friends and working together to find them. Sure you can still catch Pokemon, but you basically have to hope you stumble across it. I mean come on, the trailer featured hunting down Pokemon as one of the main draws of the game. The tagline is "Gotta Catch 'em All" not "Hope You Stumble Across Most of 'em."

OT: If THEY say it was affecting their servers, well I guess I have no choice but to believe them. All I can say is that since the tracking feature stopped working, I was having a much smoother time playing the game, despite Pokevision. Hell, Pokevision didn't even work most of the time, and when it did, it didn't show you ALL of the Pokemon that could appear; many a Bulbasaur slipped through the cracks for me. But at least it was something. I'll take them at their word for now that it was interfering with their work, but if they start selling items like "PokeRadar" that works for a half hour to give you exact locations, I'm going to be pissed.

Also, one thing this recent patch doesn't mention is increased capture difficulties. Myself, everyone I know that plays, and lots of people on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter are all complaining that it suddenly got a LOT harder to capture Pokemon after the update. They keep breaking out of balls, which means a lot more are now running away. Plus, no longer getting an EXP bonus for landing a 'Nice', 'Curve ball', 'Great', or 'Excellent'? Bleh.
 

RaikuFA

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Sheo_Dagana said:
Also, one thing this recent patch doesn't mention is increased capture difficulties. Myself, everyone I know that plays, and lots of people on Reddit, Facebook, and Twitter are all complaining that it suddenly got a LOT harder to capture Pokemon after the update. They keep breaking out of balls, which means a lot more are now running away. Plus, no longer getting an EXP bonus for landing a 'Nice', 'Curve ball', 'Great', or 'Excellent'? Bleh.
I noticed this too, it took me 10 great balls to catch a dratini(*squee* so happy) at cp 300 while it took me 1 pokeball to catch a lapras with a cup of 900 two weeks ago.
 

Dead Metal

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Cowabungaa said:
Might want to fix your title.

Anyway, I don't see how stuff like Pokevision interfered with their work. All it did was display information the app was sending out. Not that I liked it, but as they broke their own tracking feature I can't blame people for using this instead. Without all you can do is hope a Pokemon you want shows up. It's all random.

So I can't exactly call this a satisfying response. They handwaved players' concerns away and didn't really explain anything properly.
Dead Metal said:
Nobody should miss the footprints, they never worked and made the whole thing super pointless.
They did work. I tracked a Dratini and Eevee with them back before they broke it on purpose to decrease server loads. If anything they were the most interactive and 'deep' gameplay element the game had. It was the only thing that gave the player any real agency, as badly presented as it was. I didn't last long though so perhaps you missed its useful time.
So it worked for like a day or two and then stopped working. Still it did not work and should not be missed.