Despite the overwhelming response to “Pokémon GO” over the last month, many people have been worried about the game’s developer, Niantic Labs, and its reputation for not communicating with fans or listening to their requests.
Unfortunately, those fears have been coming true, as of late.
Niantic Labs released a new update for “Pokémon GO” on Saturday night. It includes many changes, but the biggest change is the removal of one of the game’s core (albeit broken) features: a three-step tracker, which shows you all the Pokémon currently nearby. The feature worked for the first few days after the app launched, but hasn’t worked properly since then.
But, instead of fixing the feature on Saturday, Niantic removed it entirely.
This is especially frustrating for fans since Niantic has also been busy sending cease-and-desist letters to popular third-party sites that help you track Pokémon (which, in fairness, were created because the three-step tracker stopped working).
Hey guys. We wish we had some news for you
At this moment, we are respecting Niantic and Nintendo’s wishes.
Will keep you guys posted
— Pokevision (@PokeVisionGo) July 31, 2016
So, without an in-game tracker or any third-party trackers, many “Pokémon GO” players feel like they’re playing in the dark.
Many people have theories why Niantic made these changes — some think the game’s three-step tracker had a negative impact on the “Pokémon GO” servers, so they shut down the feature until they could fix the problem — but most people are frustrated not just because this crucial feature was removed, but because Niantic hasn’t given any kind of official explanation, and has done nothing to calm worried fans.
No transparency from Niantic is just making it worse. Disabled comments and removed their email from the FB page.
— Angry Whorechard (@twocrutchez) July 31, 2016
If Niantic don’t increase their transparency, Pokémon go isn’t going to last much longer
— Benjamin Sterling (@_Ben_sterling) July 31, 2016
Some people on the “Pokémon GO” subreddit pointed out these issues with Niantic a while ago, highlighting similar communication issues around the company’s previous game, called “Ingress.”
We’ve reached out to Niantic about why the company has been silent about these changes. We will update this piece if we hear back.