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Pokémon Go developer acknowledges "valid concerns" after remote raid changes

As game director highlights abuse directed towards his family.

Pokémon Go game director Michael Steranka has said Niantic is now considering measures to address "many of the valid concerns" surrounding its recent decisions to adjust the game.

The app recently introduced sweeping changes to its remote raiding feature, with players limited to using five remote raid passes a day, and each pass also now priced higher. Niantic said it had made these changes with the future of Pokémon Go in mind, and to ensure the game was still focused on its core pillars of exploration and social interaction.

But alongside criticism of Niantic's decision - which Steranka told Eurogamer last week in an interview that he had fully expected - the company's employees have also been targeted with personal abuse. Today, Steranka took to Twitter to highlight one such example.

Pokémon Go's newly-introduced Shadow Raids will feature Mewtwo this weekend.Watch on YouTube

"I decided to block an account for the first time today," Steranka wrote. "I usually pride myself on never blocking anybody, even though some people say some pretty hurtful things about me. I genuinely think it's important to read contradicting view points and not get trapped in an echo chamber.

"But this account, which was created just this month, seems to have been made with the sole intent of harassing me and insulting my family. I hope we can all agree that this is not okay and something we should wholly reject from the community."

Images shared by Steranka included personal abuse directed at himself, his wife and their newborn child.

"I know that many of you are frustrated with some of our recent decisions," Steranka continued, "but just know that we see the feedback and are thinking of ways to address many of the valid concerns without sacrificing on our mission and vision for Pokémon Go."

Pokémon Go launched its new Shadow Raids feature this week, as part of a fresh wave of new gameplay additions Niantic has promised players will release over the course of this summer.

This weekend will see the release of Shiny Shadow Mewtwo for players to chase after - though not with remote raid passes. Shadow Raids are in-person activities only - another decision which has irked some fans.

Speaking to Eurogamer, Steranka acknowledged the game's renewed push to get players back outside - specifically via its remote raid pass nerf - "was going to be an incredibly difficult one to make".

"That was a tough pill for me to swallow as well," Steranka told me. "But ultimately, the way Remote Raids have evolved over the years has led to what we consider a pretty unhealthy way to engage with Pokémon Go.

"We saw a lot of players hopping in and doing dozens of remote raids for Legendary Pokémon every day, sometimes hundreds. And that's kind of antithetical to what we envisioned this game to be."

For more on Niantic's response to the remote raid reaction, Eurogamer's full interview is here.

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