Can Pokemon GO survive this Pandora’s Box protest?

Chris Burns - Aug 12, 2021, 11:29am CDT
Can Pokemon GO survive this Pandora’s Box protest?

This week it’s become clear that Niantic’s reverting of COVID-19 (pandemic) bonuses in Pokemon GO in the summer of 2021 was a bit of a misstep. Niantic made the right moves in 2020, changing key elements in the game Pokemon GO to allow people to continue playing the game as they stayed quarantined at home, avoiding the spread of COVID-19. Players around the world grew used to the way the game was played during the pandemic (which hasn’t ended, by the way), but Niantic has decided to revert SOME of the game back to its pre-pandemic state.

If you take a peek at a thread on The Silph Road on Reddit, you’ll see some heavy-duty discussion all about this change in gameplay and Niantic’s response to the situation. It should be clear there that Pokemon GO has a community of gamers that are very passionate about the game and the way it is played.

It should also be clear there that Pokemon GO gamers are ready and willing to boycott the game as long as it takes in order to get Niantic to move the game back to a more accessible state. Niantic’s late 2020 Pokemon GO was the most enjoyable Pokemon GO we’ve played yet – we still went out when we could, and enjoyed the game at home when we needed to stay safe, away from other people.

The game Pokemon GO is substantially different now from what it was when it was first released. As I (and we) have played Pokemon GO and covered the evolution of Pokemon GO since before it went public, I can confirm: This game had most certainly changed in significant ways since launch, and will continue to change according to the state of the community and the technology available to Niantic.

SEE TOO: Niantic responds to furious Pokemon GO gamers

For example Niantic acquired Scaniverse to assist them in continuing to 3D scan the entire world. It may be some day that we’re playing Pokemon GO in a completely augmented reality sort of environment, sort of like what we expected when we first saw the April Fool’s Joke that was the inspiration for the game.

The first release of the game had a step radar sort of system that showed the player how close they were to a given Pokemon. Pokemon GO launched without Pokemon gyms. There was no battle system in the game when Pokemon GO was first available to Android and iOS devices. This is not a static game.

Now, if Niantic is not able or willing to make the game as accessible to gamers – all sorts of gamers, not just gamers that can be mobile and physically move around their city freely – they may have a mass exodus on their hands.

That, or they might want to consider splitting the game in two pieces. One game can be played largely from one’s own home (or hospital bed, etc), the other requires gamers to literally leave their abode. Sound like a plan?


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