Pokemon Go Creator Niantic Labs announced Wednesday that starting in April, Mobile Gaming Community Days will return to their pre-pandemic length of just three hours. Following the recent huge in-game Incense nerf, the players are not happy at all to Niantic’s apparent refusal to listen to what had been widely recognized as previous positive changes to the game.
Over the past month, Niantic has made other movements in an attempt to bring Pokemon Go back to where it was before making changes in response to covid-19. Earlier this month, the developer announced that it had replaced Incense, an in-game item that attracts Pokémon, back to its pre-2020 design, reducing its effectiveness. It now attracts a Pokémon every five minutes instead of once per minute (while standing still). Then yesterday it was announced that April’s Stufful-themed Community Day would only last three hours, compared to the six everyone had grown accustomed to.
To the great credit of Niantic, the studio was quick to modify his billion dollars Pokemon Go project in response to the lockdown of planet Earth in 2020. As much of the world responded to the terror of a global pandemic by staying home, a game built around the idea of walking outside has brought smart changes, allowing it to maintain its momentum and audience. Among other changes, the radiuses of interaction with PokéStops and Gyms have been increased, remote raids have been added, incense has been strengthened to make challenges possible without having to leave the house and walking distances for taking in the PvP GO Battle League have been dropped.
Since then, Niantic has been trying to change things up, always saying that the primary motivations for its games are to get people out, to get around, to exercise. Of course, its real primary motivation is to make money, and a number of the necessary changes have clearly allowed players to get more out of the game while spending less.
As early as June 2021, as covid-19 continued to wreak havoc around the world, Niantic has made it clear that it intends to reverse the changes, forcing players to once again gather in public. In August 2021, despite the outcry, it went surprisingly well. The incredibly obvious uproar over this, as the pandemic continued to kill millions, meant that Niantic retreated after three long weeks. Come September, there was an impressive display of contrition how abysmal it all had been handled.
Since then, the adjusted distance requirements have been promised forever, which makes sense because the game is so much more accessible for him. Unfortunately, it looks like we have to keep going around the circle for every other positive tweak the game has seen.
It is quite important to point out that these “temporary changes” have been in the game for two years this month. That’s more than a third of the game’s lifespan, and for the vast majority of gamers today, that’s devices. Or even more significantly, how it has always been.
Personally, I started playing Pokemon Go with my son in August 2020. This is how we spent our only government allowed hour of outdoor time for months. (What have we all been through?) In July 2020, I couldn’t have named you any other Pokemon other than Pikachu. Now I could write you a guide. From my perspective, and that of countless millions of other players, the changes to the game this month are huge regressions that actively spoil the experience.
Recently, when we had to stay home for a weekend, my son discovered that he could no longer use incense to help complete the March Sandshrew Community Day and was therefore unable to complete the given tasks. In April, we will no longer be able to participate in the Stufful day in the morning, as we usually would, as it will now only start at 2 p.m. Of course, personal problems are not serious for you. But examples of how seemingly unnecessary changes make the game much less appealing to play.
the stated reason for Community Day, the halving is that Niantic research shows only 5% of gamers played for more than three hours anyway, according to a post from the company. I mean, sure, it sounds like you’re deliberately excluding your whales, which is a weird business choice, but wait a second. Sure, most people might not play for more than three hours (partly because Community Day quests have been so thin and awful for so long that it would be hard to drag them out any longer), but surely not all the same three hours. It will be three hours out of the six available! This is such strangely flawed logic.
Kotaku have, of course, reached out to Niantic to ask if they were considering this and other questions about the rulings and will update if they respond.
Niantic wants people to see each other, have that sense of community again, and believes that limiting activities to a smaller window will make such encounters more likely. But that ignores the number of people who won’t be able to participate at all given the changes and dismisses the opinions of those who, given Omicron’s continued huge spread, are not comfortable coming together. in groups of strangers in public!
Niantic maintains that it will continue to listen to feedback and has proven that it will back down if the community is strong enough, so maybe we’ll see a reverse ferret by Community Day in May.