Since “Pokémon GO” launched in July, fans of the location-based pocket monster hunting game have been waiting for the first big update that would hopefully fix some of the major issues in the game.
The good news is that a big update did indeed hit this weekend. The bad news is that developer Niantic took the addition-by-subtraction route and straight up removed two major features from the game instead of fixing them:
- The footprints system that was supposed to help you figure out how close Pokémon were in the “Nearby” tab.
- The battery-saver mode, at least from the iOS version of the game.
The footprints in the “Nearby” tab were, quite frankly, completely useless indicators of distance to nearby Pokémon, even when the system functioned properly. As you may know if you’ve been playing the game, they hadn’t been functioning properly for quite some time before their removal.
The removal of the battery saving option from the iOS version of the game was also a fairly obvious choice. In my experience, it didn’t really save battery, and the game would lock up more often than not when using it.
It isn’t inherently horrible to remove broken features from “Pokémon GO,” but Niantic has failed to properly explain it or offer alternatives. Both of the aforementioned features were supposed to fix real problems with the game; removing them entirely instead of fixing them is a curious choice.
We reached out to Niantic to ask if these feature will be revised and added back to the game and have yet to receive a response.
It also doesn’t help that third-party Pokémon tracking services like Pokévision were asked to shut down at the same time as footprints were removed from the game. If Niantic doesn’t want players to find Pokémon using unofficial means, then the game should present a working alternative. It doesn’t.
Hopefully Niantic offers an explanation for what they did to the game as soon as possible, before the backlash grows even larger.