PLAYERS of Pokémon Go were delighted when a new feature rolled out that seemed to make the game much better for most fans, but the feature was removed shortly after.
The latest update to the game increased the radius in which Pokémon would spawn, from 40 metres to 80, effectively doubling the range that players could interact with the creatures.
Pokémon Go fans enjoy the game’s events, but they’re fed up with bugs and apparent anti-consumer decisions[/caption]
The change was completely unannounced, but some Pokémon Go influencers, including those who partnered with developer Niantic, claimed they were told it was an intentional, permanent addition.
Unfortunately, that seems not to be the case, as Niantic said on Twitter that the change was the result of a bug, and would be reverted almost immediately.
Niantic said: “Some trainers may have experienced an increase to the current interaction radius.
“This was an unintended effect of a bug fix intended to improve the Pokémon encounter rate when your device is experiencing GPS drift.”
The company also said it was taking players’ feedback on the apparently unintentional change into consideration, but didn’t commit to increasing the encounter radius in the future.
Players, naturally, were furious, as this is the latest in a long string of changes and choices that they say have made the game worse to play.
The biggest issue of late was with changes to remote raids, which capped the amount of raids a person could participate in, and made remote raid passes more expensive.
Niantic then introduced a special type of raid called Shadow Raids, which couldn’t be played remotely at all, even with a raid pass.
Many criticised the move for being hostile to players in regional and remote areas, as well as affecting disabled players who may not be able to access some raid spots.
The increase in radius was seen as a big win for the community, as it let players catch more Pokémon without having to necessarily move around, but also didn’t affect game balance.
That’s why so many players are furious at its reversal — for the first time in many months, an overtly positive change was made to the game, and then it was suddenly snatched away.
Pokémon fan site owner Joe Merrick said: “Probably should have seen how the community was thrilled with this for playability and accessibility reasons and never admitted it as a bug and just taken the win.”
Many have echoed similar sentiments, and have accused Niantic of prioritising collecting player data and profits over user experience.
Whether the spawn radius in Pokémon Go gets increased again is anyone’s guess, but if it doesn’t, there’s likely to be at least a few players who give up on the game altogether.
Niantic seems to have burned a lot of good will in the Pokémon Go community, and backtracking like this doesn’t seem to be helping the situation one bit.
Written by Oliver Brandt on behalf of GLHF.