The creators of the hugely popular Pokémon Go mobile game have addressed an open letter from the fans who were upset by recent post-pandemic changes.
Back in the day, Pokémon Go itself was almost like a pandemic, sweeping through the world in a matter of days to conquer almost every mobile device in sight with its addictive real-world interactivity. However, the actual Covid-19 pandemic forced changes to be made to the game, which have recently begun to be lifted along with government restrictions; however, this reversal of policy has gone down badly with a large proportion of the fanbase mostly due to lingering safety concerns.
At the start of the pandemic, Pokémon Go was adjusted so that it didn’t have to rely on individuals leaving the house, walking and gathering together any more, as that evidently had the potential of exposing players to risk of infection. These changes were widely praised at the time, and greatly appreciated by players who still wanted to keep up their hobby despite the pressures of the pandemic.
One such change was increasing the distance to which players had to be within in order to interact with Pokéstops or Gyms by 40 metres; but now that restrictions are lifting once more, some of the workarounds, including this one, were planned to revert to pre-pandemic settings following trial periods in the US and New Zealand.
This u-turn greatly angered a large number of passionate players, who joined together to write an eloquent open letter to the game’s creator, Niantic:
I'm going to set aside my opinion here and share a concern from the community. Although Niantic touts its community as one of its biggest strengths, they haven't done as much as acknowledge us on this matter.— Leek Duck (@LeekDuck) August 5, 2021
So, @NianticLabs, I ask you to hear us out. #HearUsNiantic pic.twitter.com/ABR11bG7A8
The letter highlighted that players felt the game was safer, more accessible, and more respectful to the wider community if the changes stood in place, and firmly requested that the increased interaction radius should stay in the game as a “quality of life change.”
Now, Niantic has responded with an open letter of its own that is quick to express the company’s appreciation and humility. However, when it comes to the crucial question of interactivity radius rather than mere groveling, we are still awaiting a firm answer, as the company’s actions seem non-committal for the time being:
We are assembling an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to preserve our mission of inspiring people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns that have been raised regarding interaction distance. We will share the findings of this task force by the next in game season change (September 1). As part of this process, we will also be reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join us in this dialogue.
Pokéfans will have to wait until September 1 to find out whether the creator of their beloved game will take notice and reverse its course; otherwise, many will be left not only disappointed but potentially excluded by the game they love.