Pokémon Go has deleted numerous gym and PokéStop locations added more than a week ago as a result of a "bug" - despite players having spent time and money on progress in the interim.
The new locations popped up early last week, and come from the wider database of approved locations used by developer Niantic's earlier game Ingress. (Pokémon Go has specific rules to limit the number of locations which filter through to it, to space out places on its map.)
Dutifully, Pokémon Go players began interacting with these new locations, spending time and buying raid passes to play at gyms and boost progress their on each location's achievement badge.
Roll forward to this week, and Niantic eventually acknowledged the arrival of these new locations as a "bug" via in a post on its Twitter support account. The new locations would now be deleted, Niantic said, which meant player progress would be frozen as a result.
Many players expressed frustration with this result - and called for the locations to remain in the game, as they had been in place over a week by that point. Others called for refunds for raid passes bought simply to boost progress on gyms which will now be deleted.
A number of fans said this change had impacted their communities positively, galvanising local interest in the game or providing extra opportunities to play in otherwise quiet areas.
This summer, Niantic acknowledged the positive role the expanded interaction distance provided to players and U-turned on its decision to remove that. There remained the hope Niantic may still do this for the deleted gyms, too.
Niantic initially said it would remove the locations at 10pm UK time on Wednesday evening, though the vast majority remained in place for a further 24 hours. These were then pulled from the game overnight last night.
"Our resolution to the error where these rules were ignored in this case was as follows: We have fixed the issue and rebalanced the Wayspot ratio in each area correctly," Niantic wrote. "Any location edits/changes to these Wayspots have been reviewed and updated as per Pokémon Go and Ingress policy. While we will try our best to preserve many of these locations, any newly added or edited Wayspots that broke the rules will be disabled (Pokémon Go & Ingress) or demoted (Pokémon Go only) to preserve the integrity of the gameboard."
We've contacted Niantic for more.