Ex-Pokemon Go dev claims Niantic “punished” them for listening to complaints

Niantic / The Pokemon Company

An ex-employee of Niantic has revealed what it’s allegedly like to work for the mobile game giant, claiming that they were reprimanded for echoing complaints from Pokemon Go players and told to “shut up.”

The allegations, written in an anonymous Glassdoor post, were first shared in March 2020 but have recently resurfaced online, likely due to ongoing complaints from Pokemon Go players who are unhappy with Niantic’s decision to reverse gameplay bonuses.

“False” culture, poor prioritization, and refusal to accept suggestions from developers were also claimed in the two-star review, with the ex-Platform Engineer alleging that they were told to be quiet when they recommended a fix for certain bugs such as missing Shiny Pokemon and moves.

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Ex-Pokemon Go dev allegedly reprimanded for echoing complaints

They claim to have an open culture, but don’t accept negative comments even when things suck,” they wrote. “As a platform engineer who just wanted the game/company to be better, I got punished by echoing Pokemon Go players’ complaints which had been there for more than a year.”

The complaints in question were about the length of time it takes players to send multiple Gifts, and exclusive moves that render the same Pokemon caught beforehand “useless” as they can’t learn the move. “If people don’t agree something is negative, how can anyone start fixing it and making it positive?”

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They also claimed that a Niantic executive asked them to “shut up” when they suggested some fixes of their own, such as when Shiny Entei and Suicune were temporarily missing for almost a day back in September 2019.

pokemon go reviewGlassdoor
The ex-dev claimed that they were punished for echoing Pokemon Go player complaints.

The review also claimed that many other employees working on Pokemon Go didn’t actually know the game well, meaning they didn’t know which issues to prioritize fixing over others.

Though most employees play it, few people on the Pokemon Go team really know the game well (or the people who know always have other “high priority” stuff to worry about instead of the actual player issues),” the ex-employee wrote.

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“Before the mass clockblocking of central/mountain time zones’ EX passes on Apr 10, 2019, [Reddit] already had a post predicting that with 200+ upvotes. But no one on the team did anything. So after that I had to notify them proactively to avoid similar issues twice, including the conflict with Regigigas ticketed event on Nov 2, 2019.”

pokemon go glassdoor reviewGlassdoor
They claimed many employees didn’t know the game well.

Despite the negatives, the ex-dev did share some pros about working for the mobile giant, such as competitive initial compensation, an easy interview process, a friendly atmosphere, and a good work-life balance.

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Niantic’s Chief People Officer responded to the review and wrote, “Niantic works hard to promote an open culture. In supporting an open culture, there is a lot of debate and often disagreement. It’s how you work through the disagreement that cultivates a healthy open culture…We have some work to do and embracing feedback from our employees is key to helping us cultivate an open culture.”

H/T: Future Game Releases

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