In terms of mobile games there has been nothing even remotely close to the buzz generated by the team behind ‘Pokemon Go’. Released in the summer of 2016, ‘Pokemon Go’ was expected to fundamentally transform mobile gaming through the augmented reality function and the already tremendously popular franchise giving it extra exposure. While ‘Pokemon Go’ has done some things well, a recent event in Japan hosted nearly 2 million players, there have been some major problems. Niantic, the team of developers behind the game, are taking a customer service oriented approach to fixing their game. One of the most enduring complaints of the past year has been how rural players are typically left out of the big updates. Well, never fear — change is coming.
This past summer we saw major changes to the way that ‘Pokemon Go’ operates. The addition of ‘Team Raids’ to the game put a focus on collaboration between players in order to try and win big battles and earn even bigger prizes. The raid feature has been hit and miss with fans. Those in large cities and active locations love it because they can find trainers to partner with in order to win some huge new prizes: including legendary Pokemon like the Legendary Bird’s trio as well as Lugia. Trainers in rural locations have been largely left out to hang. Rural players don’t have the strong Pokemon needed in order to take out these impossible raids.
Reddit, a popular online community, has a subreddit dedicated to ‘Pokemon Go’. In a forum post made on that subreddit a liaison from Niantic dropped by to address concerns from the playerbase. The Niantic employee said, of rural players being left out, “We are working on mechanisms to make it easier for players to come together for Raid Battles.” The employee didn’t say much more than that but his or her words were a big deal: change is coming. What’s more important, change that allows trainers to collaborate without being physically close to one another hints at the potential for other big updates including trading, battling, social networking, guilds and so on.
Whether fair or not, many players understand that ‘Pokemon Go’ is meant to be played in active areas. Playing in a small town bereft of PokeStops and Gyms can be an impossible feeling task. Hopefully Niantic takes steps to make the game more playable for players everywhere.