Let’s just say that the patches to Pokémon Go over the weekend were not particularly well received. Instead of fixing the “three step bug” with the step tracker, Niantic removed the feature outright, diminishing the possibility of being able to actively hunt nearby Pokémon. At the same time, they shut down various services that had sprung up to help people find those Pokémon, and made a number of other changes, including the removal of ‘Battery Saver’ mode on iOS.
It’s never good when it feels like you’re taking (three) backward steps with a patch, and the community that has quickly built up around the game was not happy. This was only worsened by a total lack of communication from the company – staggeringly, there is no dedicated community manager for this game at Niantic.
The company finally responded in a Facebook post in the last few hours, to explain some of the reasons for these removed features.
As many of you know, we recently made some changes to Pokémon GO.
– We have removed the ‘3-step’ display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.
– We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world. The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokémon GO around the world an… interesting… challenge. And we aren’t done yet! Yes, Brazil, we want to bring the game to you (and many other countries where it is not yet available).
We have read your posts and emails and we hear the frustration from folks in places where we haven’t launched yet, and from those of you who miss these features. We want you to know that we have been working crazy hours to keep the game running as we continue to launch globally. If you haven’t heard us Tweeting much it’s because we’ve been heads down working on the game. But we’ll do our best going forward to keep you posted on what’s going on.
Be safe, be nice to your fellow trainers, and keep on exploring.
The Pokémon GO team
While it’s good to finally hear something out of the company, it’s a little disheartening that there’s no real indication on when they plan to have features like the step tracker returning to the game. Hopfully this is the start of a chattier approach to the community, but in the meantime, players will have to put up with what is a lesser game.