The Pokémon Go developer is facing a revolt from players after it rolled back security measures implemented at the start of the pandemic last year.
Niantic, the Google subsidiary that released the hit mobile game in 2016, responded to the start of the pandemic by changing the way its games work. The introduction of social distancing and stay-at-home controls around the world has made it difficult to play the company’s augmented reality (AR) games as intended, as they require players to leave their homes and visit places. local landmarks to catch Pokémon, collect items, and fight for regional dominance.
The company doubled the distance required to interact with key in-game landmarks, allowing players to access them in-game without needing to physically cluster around the same location in the real world. He’s also handed out free items to players, including “Frankincense,” which allows Pokémon to spawn without needing to leave your house.
In June, the company announced its intention to reverse these changes. “We’re committed to doing it in a phased fashion, where it makes sense for every place in the world, to help people play it safe,” Niantic said. “As we return to the outside world again, these changes are intended to restore Pokémon Go’s focus on movement and exploration in the real world. These changes will be introduced slowly and carefully to make exploring the world around you more exciting.
The news has sparked consternation among the player base, especially among US users, for whom a new wave of pandemic begins as the Delta variant takes hold in the United States. A petition on Change.org gathered nearly 150,000 user signatures calling on the company to keep the changes.
“The increased interaction distance was one of the best changes they’ve ever made,” the petition read, “making the game safer to play and more accessible for everyone”. In addition to pandemic safety, the changes were hailed for making the game more accessible to players with disabilities: increased interaction distance meant pokestops that were once physically inaccessible to wheelchair users, for example. , were suddenly available.
The decision also caused dismay among fans who have become accustomed to – or even prefer – the new method of play. The adjustments have made the game “more enjoyable and less stressful,” according to Ryan Broderick, a freelance journalist. “Basically they made the game easier to play from your couch. You can fight and catch Pokémon without having to walk around your neighborhood with a face mask. It has now become one of my biggest waste of time.
A Pokémon Go influencer, ZoëTwoDots, even called for a boycott of the game. “I personally know that I just don’t spend money in the game until they talk about it publicly,” she said. stated in an article on YouTube.