Niantic’s pledge to Pokemon Go in-person experiences has come back to bite them

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Niantic released a blog post to reaffirm to players that it is committed to bolstering Pokemon Go’s in-person experience, but this pledge has come back to bite them.

It’s no secret that when Pokemon Go was released in 2016, it was meant as a way for gamers to get out of their houses, explore, and form communities. But like any other live-service game, Pokemon Go has undergone immense growth, adding gameplay features and tons of new Pokemon to flesh out the bare-bones catching simulator.

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And in 2020, Pokemon Go saw its most significant increase in players and highest revenue year by a considerable margin. This was, in part, due to the accessibility changes made to the app, ensuring players could continue to catch and battle Pokemon during the global lockdown.

But three years have passed since the world shut its doors, and Niantic has continued to slowly peel away these accessibility features like the layers of an onion. Despite players begging Niantic to revert these nerfs, the company continues to tote the idea that removing remote gameplay features is for the good of Pokemon Go’s in-person experience.

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Pokemon Go’s commitment to in-person play sparks outrage

This ideology was fully displayed in a Pokemon Go blog post from March 10, 2023. Titled “Our continued commitment to real-world play in Pokémon GO,” the announcement teased upcoming improvements and additional bonuses for those participating in in-person raids or playing the game outside their houses.

When the post went live, players held their breath as they were sure it would announce the anticipated Remote Raid Pass nerf. But they were equally disappointed with the details – or lack thereof – that Niantic published.

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Disabled and rural players were offended by the post, with many users claiming Niantic doesn’t care for players outside of metropolitan areas. One user commented, “Basically, Niantic giving disabled/less-able/rural area players a big, fat middle finger.”

Others on Twitter and Reddit claimed that there wasn’t much said in the post, with one comment referring to the blog as a “medium bowl of word salad.” However, they also stated that what was teased was the exact opposite of what players have been asking for over the last year or so.

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There were a few players cautiously excited about the announcement. While additional benefits for getting out and playing in-person sound appealing, they feared that the future updates would come in the form of nerfs for remote play.

“I don’t blame them for wanting to be committed to making the game appealing to play outside/IRL. I just hope they’ll add incentives and enhance such play rather than nerfing other methods of play,” one user stated.

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As it stands, Pokemon Go players aren’t sure what Niantic is teasing in the post. It was more of an announcement for an announcement. But until then, players are left to wonder what new feature Niantic will add… or which ones they’ll take away.

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