Pokémon Go developer commits to change following community outcry

"Niantic has a lot of room to grow when it comes to communication with our players."

Pokémon Go developer Niantic has published a frank blog post in the wake of last month's enormous community upset.

Earlier this week, Niantic dramatically U-turned on players' main sticking point - the removal of increased interaction radius in the game implemented at the start of the pandemic. Now, it has promised further changes in how it interacts with fans.

"We've been listening to player feedback and also set up four roundtable conversations where I spoke with over 30 community leaders from around the world (thank you all for your participation!)" the game's executive producer Steve Wang wrote. "The two main themes we heard were: The 80m interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms has been an incredibly positive quality of life improvement over the past year and a half. Niantic has a lot of room to grow when it comes to communication with our players."

It's notable - and unusual - this blog comes directly from a named member of Niantic staff. It was also made highly visible, popping up in-app for all players to see upon loading the game.

The post includes more detail on how Niantic views in-game locations as ways to "nudge Trainers to get outside", and that it will develop new ideas to "motivate and reward Trainers for exploring and exercising in the real world" while maintaining the game's now permanently-extended interaction radius.

Niantic also admits it "went through a rough learning experience recently" when its planned removal of pandemic bonuses in New Zealand had to be quickly scrapped after the country went into a new lockdown.

"This experience taught us that we are not going to be able to effectively adjust the experience on a country-by-country basis in real-time," Wang wrote. Pokémon Go will now offer all gameplay bonuses at a global level, tied to in-game seasons.

Finally, Niantic set out its plans to communicate better with players - via regular developer diaries "to share the latest priorities, events, and features" and regular conversations with community leaders, akin to those Niantic held in response to the recent community outcry.

"The lack of communication regarding the PokéStop and Gym interaction radius was not handled well on our part and it was a great learning experience on how to better engage with our players moving forward," Wang concluded. "Our top priority is and always has been to get people outside into the real world and creating human connections with each other. Thank you for being a part of this journey with us - you'll hear from us again soon."

Pokémon Go has now kicked off its autumnal Season of Mischief, which will see players finally capturing the Mythical creature Hoopa after it debuted in the game's narrative over the summer, among various other things.

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Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips

News Editor  |  tomphillipsEG

Tom is Eurogamer's news editor. He writes lots of news, some of the puns and makes sure we put the accent on Pokémon.

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