Pokemon Go dev explains how player boycott changed Niantic’s strategy
The Pokemon Go boycott which brought a viral #PokemonNoDay trend was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” for many players, and Niantic has explained how it’s changed their processes.
In August, thousands of players came together in protest of multiple decisions made in relation to gameplay, including the scrapping of a bonus introduced to help trainers continue playing throughout the global health crisis.
This involved the game’s dedicated community on Reddit writing an open letter, opposing the dev team’s “woeful” response to constantly changing restrictions across the globe.
Since then, Niantic announced the arrival of a community task force to monitor issues raised by players, which led to a new developer diary being released routinely.
Pokemon Go dev explains how boycott changed strategy
While these changes are known by just about every Pokemon Go player by now, what’s not known is the magnitude of how this outcry impacted the developer’s internal setup.
In an interview with Gfinity, Michael Steranka – director of product marketing – opened up about the situation.
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They said: “The core of what [the #HearUsNiantic campaign] was really all about was communication. I think that was the straw that broke the camel’s back in many ways for players. We’ve definitely heard the desire from our most dedicated fans for more communication, more transparency.
“And so, we’ve made a couple of commitments coming out of that. First and foremost, we’ll be releasing a developer diary on a minimum two-month cadence, maybe even more frequently as opportunities come up.”
Communication has been a core focus of Niantic’s since the boycott, and working with community leaders has made a difference already.
“We’re actually hosting regular roundtable sessions with community leaders from around the world. We can’t do this with every single player in the community, but there are definitely folks who we feel are a good representation of our global community that we are able to bounce ideas off of getting real-time feedback on what’s happening.
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“Game design is a very nuanced thing where you have to think about what’s best for the game in the long term, but then also make sure that players are enjoying things and in the short term – we’re always trying to strike that balancing act. But overall, we really want to ensure that when we communicate, and the cadence of our communication, we step our game up there.”
Steranka also noted that the team is working hard to respond to known issues and release better updates, where needed. Also in the interview, they touched on a future Kecleon event as well.
Whether or not these changes and pledges will leave the Pokemon Go community satisfied long-term remains to be seen.