Every once in awhile a new craze will come over society. Usually,taking once productive people and consuming their thoughts and every spare moment. For the summer of 2016, it’s Pokémon go.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have either played or heard of Niantic Inc.’s latest mobile game. You may have also heard about all of the trouble the game is causing for players and the public alike. In this first article let’s talk about the issues facing the players themselves. While Pokémon Go may be setting records for app store downloads, the game is a bug riddled mess that continues to frustrate the ever growing player population. Although bugs are inevitable in almost any game of this scale, some of the ones that are occurring are just too hard to ignore. Such as the 500+ weedles and caterpie I have encountered in the past month, the diversity of Pokémon in certain areas is incredibly flawed.
On another note, players who have had the game downloaded from the very beginning will remember the footprint tracker; a staple to early gameplay and Pokémon locating. The game featured a radar to help players in their search of some of the most elusive pocket monsters. The problem is, shortly after the game was released, the tracker stopped working and with no explanation, was removed from the game a few weeks later. Players immediately turned to the internet, where they were able to find a web-based app called PokéVision. While PokéVision had a good run, unfortunately, broke Niantic’s terms of service by using their API to grab the location of all spawning Pokémon and displaying them on a local map. Some players, inevitably, took advantage and started using PokéVision paired with GPS spoofing software to find rare Pokémon from the comfort of their own homes; allowing them to easily access locations and follow spawning Pokémon instantly. Niantic, along with many players, has deemed this as a form of cheating and the company had PokéVision banned from accessing their servers.
So where are we now? Well, there still have been no real improvements to the footprint or tracking feature at this time, although Niantic is now trying to resolve the issue and changes are apparently in progress. Seems okay right? To anyone who plays the game casually or has something better to do with their lives than farm 133 Magikarp, this is more than acceptable, but for the players who were spoiled and took advantage of systems that were created to illegally enhance their progress, they are still furious. Player uproar has come out in full force, as people contacted both Google and Apple for refunds on in-app purchases, citing that purchases were made before the developer changed the game. Claims continued by stating the game was “unplayable” and that after said changes, in-game purchases became obsolete. Pokémon consistently ran away from being captured too quickly and became nearly impossible to track.
Truth is, the game is still very much playable and despite many incidences and glitches in just the first month of it’s release, Pokémon Go has done things no app or game has done before. There will always be people who find something to complain about and yes right now it may take more effort to track down Pokémon and it may take longer for players to complete their pokedexs or get that coveted high-level Dragonite, but isn’t that part of the fun of the game?
Keep an eye out for part two of our Pokémon Go editorial series, where we look at the effects Pokémon go has had on the public.