The developing team behind the Pokemon Go video game, Niantic, came under fire after announcing its plans to revert the pandemic-induced changes to the game back to the pre-pandemic setting. And though the announcement caused many concerns among players, rolling back said changes has caused more anger than anything else – prompting the gaming community to submit an open letter to Niantic. The developer addressed the open letter, focusing primarily on issues highlighted by the gaming community.
As per our previous report, Pokemon Go fans have expressed their dissatisfaction, and outright anger, towards Niantic after the company reverted the pandemic-related changes to the game. The fan base shared an open letter to Niantic, urging the company to reconsider reverting PokéStop interaction distances to pre-pandemic settings, which the company extended in light of lockdowns and social distancing practices. According to IGN, Niantic has since issued a response to its player base over complaints surrounding the company’s decision.
In its official response, published on the studio’s blog, Niantic elaborated on its decision to revert the interaction distances from 80 meters back to 40 meters because it wants Pokemon Go players to connect to real places in the tangible world and visit places that are worth exploring – which was the game’s original idea. It’s worth noting that the rollback was announced approximately one month prior to its implementation and even before when Niantic introduced pandemic-induced changes to Pokemon Go.
However, Niantic acknowledged the concerns raised by the Pokemon Go community regarding the changes to the PokeStop Gym interaction distance. However, the developer of augmented reality video game hasn’t disclosed which further action it will take. In its official response, Niantic announced the assembly of an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to appease the company’s vision and fandom’s desires. Additionally, the company stated its plans to approach community leaders in the coming days, calling them to join the dialogue over the next couple of weeks, as Niantic plans to share its findings by September 1st.
It’s still unclear what exactly these proposals will encapsulate when they could be implemented and to what degree they will satisfy the Pokemon Go community. And while the majority of fandom hopes that their concerns will be addressed sooner rather than later, many in the Pokemon Go community are cautiously optimistic about having finally received a response from the company. Others aren’t so optimistic; Joe Merrick of Serebii.net hopes that the company’s response isn’t just a pacification attempt that will last for a month but a promise that will have real action behind it.
The increased PokéStop interaction distance was introduced to Pokemon Go last year to discourage the community members from going outside while allowing them to enjoy the game from the safety of their homes – effectively aiding social distancing. However, besides improving safety, the newly instilled features improved game accessibility, allowing those with physical disabilities to also enjoy the game. Fans of Pokemon Go, its community, and prominent community leaders are asking Niantic to reconsider removing the increased distance feature to the game because, for some, it represents more than just a safety measure. For some, it’s a quality-of-life improvement.