This past weekend, Pokémon Go developers Niantic made some big changes to their phenomenon of a smartphone game that left a lot of hardcore players in the cold.
Niantic totally disabled the game’s already-broken Pokémon tracking feature, which it followed up by shutting down the unauthorised third-party cheating sites that millions of people were using to find their monsters.
Some fans are asking for refunds for the money they have spent on the game — and getting them. More fans still leaving bad reviews for the game in an attempt to force changes from Niantic. At the time of writing, the current version of Pokémon Go has an average of 2 out of 5 stars on the Apple App Store.
But despite all the rage, data from app analytics firm Sensor Tower indicates that the game is as popular as before, if not more so. Overall, Sensor Tower indicates that the game has made $160 million in net revenue since launching on July 8th.
In fact, iPhone players of Pokémon Go actually sunk slightly more average time per day into the game from July 30th through August 1st, the same span over which the controversial changes were made, than they were in the week leading up to it.
Players spent 26 minutes and 5 seconds playing the game, up from 25 minutes and 40 seconds the week before, over that fateful weekend.
That’s down considerably from the 33 minutes and 25 seconds players were spending on the game shortly after it launched, but it’s expected that the post-release pop won’t last forever. Also note that by Sensor Tower’s reckoning, iOS users are still spending more time daily on Pokémon Go than they are on Facebook’s iPhone app.
“None of this is to say that some diehard Pokémon GO users turned off by the removal of a key game mechanic haven’t stopped using the app, but the average user is not spending less time playing as a result of the changes,” writes Sensor Tower in a blog post.
The week before the update, too, players opened the app about six times per day, which has remained unchanged.
It’s hard to tell straight away what accounts for this little bump in usage. But, at a guess, it probably has something to do with the fact that Niantic has fixed many of the game’s worst bugs while also making the server’s far more reliable.
With those problems fixed and fine-tuned, the majority of players don’t necessarily care as much about the finer aspects of playing Pokémon Go, so long as the game itself works as it should.
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