Pokemon Go players revolt against developers rolling back pandemic-driven change

New Delhi: American augmented reality firm Niantic, which runs the popular mobile game Pokemon Go, is facing complaints from players on its platforms as the company rolled back changes it had put in place after the pandemic.

The game, which requires players to actively go out in the world and use augmented reality to bring synergy between real-world and in-game locations, became difficult to play since various countries imposed lockdowns and curfews.

As a result, Niantic had increased the distance required to interact with key locations in the game, allowing players to continue playing while staying indoors. However, the company announced plans to undo these changes back in June, which has raised concerns amongst many players.

“Look guys, we get it, we truly do. Niantic has a loud majority (myself included) miffed at the reset to old distances despite the advanced warning it would be this way. There are numerous reasons why this is a bad idea, the biggest being that covid is not even close to being over,” said a Reddit post in a thread titled “Gameplay complaint mega thread”.

“Covid is not over, delta variant is spreading like wildfire, while I accept that Niantic warned us the reversion was coming, they should have delayed it. I in principle am fine with the old distances as the point of the game is to go to places and see those places,” the post from Redditor BootsMade4Walking wrote. “If you are 80 m away you cant see that plaque you just spun, or might not walk in front of that shop that has a nifty sign. But the risk of closer interactions is significant, and Niantic has been tone def to the concerns raised in the last month by users,” it continued.

While the Reddit thread mentioned above had over 500 posts, a petition has also been started on Change.org, the San Francisco-based website. “Niantic is reverting increased PokeStop and Gym interaction distance. They had previously said this change would be permanent but have went back on their word. Let them know that increased interaction distance was one of the best changes they have ever made, making the game safer to play and more accessible for all,” the petition states.

The petition had 148,983 signatures at the time of writing this story and will become one of the top petitions on the platform if it hits 150,000. “Player experience should always be improved. Reverting positive changes is just a slap in the face to your customers,” wrote James Farnworth, a Pokemon Go player, on Change.org.

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