Pokemon Still GOing

Originally published on Trevor Trove on July 31, 2016

If, like me, you’re still hopelessly addicted to pulling out your phone, checking the nearby surroundings for anything other than a Rattata or Zubat, setting it down and repeating every five minutes or so, you no doubt saw the big Pokemon GO update that went live yesterday.

If not, here’s a gist: a handful of under-the-hood performance tweaks, minor changes to the UI, new warnings that pop-up every time you start the app, you can re-customize your character if you were stuck wearing the wrong team color and want to fix your life, and they got rid of the three paw prints glitch.

They didn’t fix it.

They just got rid of it by removing the paw prints altogether.

In addition, it would seem that Niantic Labs and The Pokemon Company have been sending “cease and desist” orders to the various sites like Pokevision.com that had tapped into the servers and were able to provide Pokemon tracking for the app, citing a violation of the Terms of Service. And while Niantic has every right to do so, it seems like a bad move, especially in light of yet another step backward in the apps own ability to track Pokemon.

They’ve taken an already obtuse system that has been broken for a few weeks and just threw a new coat of paint on it. For all we, know they could have quite literally just changed the paw print image to match the background or something. The three paw prints glitch is, for all intents and purposes, now just the no paw prints glitch. There’s not really any incentive for me to try and wander aimlessly in the hopes that I’ll jostle that list. And as a minor follow-up to my “Don’t Waste Money on Pokemon GO” piece from a couple weeks back, it seems a lot of people are taking this opportunity to request refunds for their in-app purchases, as Niantic has changed the app in a way that fundamentally changed the ability to use some of the items.

If it were me running Niantic, I’d have left the free sites up and running for those who wanted it, taken down the sites that were trying to cash-in on the idea, and used the millions of dollars a day that they’re making to hire on the people who developed these sites to get them working on fixing the app‘s tracking.

But then again, there were still hundreds of people down at Tempe Town Lake again tonight, trying to catch ’em all. And most of them are probably blissfully unaware that any of this stuff was going on anyway. So what do I know? This game has already proven itself to be virtually bullet-proof in its race to the top of the charts. I’m sure even if a few people who had become reliant on these tracker sites are leaving or some people are getting refunds, the game will no doubt continue to make money hand over fist.

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