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Pokemon Go’s Review Scores Are Plummeting Amid Tracking Controversy

by Kyle Hanson

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Pokemon Go has had a bit of a troubled launch. Server issues plagued the initial week or two of the game, and now that things are looking more stable, it seems like the game, and its developer Niantic simply can’t go a day without something new coming up that casts the game in a poor light. Everything came to a head this weekend, with an update that removed the 3-step tracking entirely (to be fair, the feature had been broken for weeks). The developer then took the extra step of shutting down various radar apps and websites, such as Pokevision.

This is a bit of a problem, because as of now there is no official way to actually track Pokemon in Pokemon Go. Considering the fact that this was a big selling point for the game, and was a very big hit with the fans, when it was working, the community is very understandably outraged. We already weighed in on the controversy, essentially saying that Niantic is killing their own game with decisions like this. Now it is the fan’s turn, and they are making their disdain quite clear.

Now we have a stable game, but there really isn’t any game left to play

On Google Play the problems don’t seem as big, because it uses a different method of aggregating user reviews which keep the score hovering around three point nine out of five, but the iOS App Store is painting a very grim picture. The review scores for the Pokemon Go app have plummeted over the last couple of days, going from above a three out of five, all the way down to around one and a half stars.

To make matters worse, very early this morning saw another small update to Pokemon Go on iOS devices. Some formed a conspiracy theory that this was aimed at erasing the recent bad reviews, as any update will make it so only newer reviews are shown. If this was the plan it has backfired in a big way, as users have flooded the new version with the same one star reviews.

Niantic has made it so that you can’t view the actual written reviews for Pokemon Go, but over on Google Play you can find a few that explain the current frustration. “Do you expect me to walk aimlessly around an area larger than 6 football fields in under 6 minutes for a Pokémon I can’t even track,” asks user Dustin Clowers.

Mark Moseley seemed to sum up the problems very well by saying “Started out with lots of bugs but it was fun tracking down pokemon and trying your skill at getting great/excellent shots. However, as updates have rolled out, Niantic has just consistently removed game features. Now, you can’t track Pokemon and your visible radius has decreased, so you just wander around blindly. There’s no longer a bonus for skilled pokeball throws either, so there goes the one skill based part of the game. Now we have a stable game, but there really isn’t any game left to play.”

Amid all of this Niantic has remained almost unbelievably quiet, issuing no notice to customers about changes, or when they might expect the currently removed features to return. This has led to players essentially thinking the worst of them and their choices, rather than understanding what might be going on behind the scenes. It’s an understandable reaction, and one that could be easily resolved if Niantic would begin communicating with their millions of customers. Unfortunately we’ll continue to wait for that day, and in the meantime players will either keep randomly wandering around hoping to get lucky, or just give up on the game entirely.

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