“I will no longer be purchasing coins. I will be leaving a 1 star review on the app store. I will be submitting feedback via the official webpage. I will be posting negative reviews on all social media platforms. I will probably stop playing…,” is what Reddit user aeniklast had to say about the new tracker on the Pokemon GO subreddit. The post has since garnered over 1,000 up-votes and 300 comments, with most people sharing the same sentiment.
This backlash comes less than 24 hours after Niantic decided to release the new tracker to all of Continental United States and a large part of Europe, a decision that is being called “a huge mistake” by thousands of Pokemon GO players around the world.
The new nearby tracker, for those unfamiliar, gives players a list of up to 9 Pokemon with their exact location by highlighting the Poke Stop that the Pokemon is standing next to. In theory, this tracker could have worked well, but the way Niantic have decided to implement it has made the game borderline unplayable.
The first issue is that most of the Pokemon in the nearby list are common. Pidgey, Rattata, Spearow, Zubat, etc. Not the kind of Pokemon you’d leave the house to hunt down, regardless of the massive XP gains provided by evolving thousands of Pidgey with a Lucky Egg. And since you only have a maximum of 9 Pokemon on the list, this often leaves just one or two Pokemon that are worth tracking down.
Another issue is that only Pokemon that are next to Poke Stops will be visible on the nearby tracker. The Snorlax that just spawned down the end of your street? Forget about it. It may as well be invisible, because if it’s not standing on a Poke Stop, you’ll never know it’s there unless you accidentally walk past it.
The reasoning behind the tracker is painfully obvious: By making sure players can only track down and find Pokemon that are near Poke Stops, Niantic can heavily monetize “sponsored” Poke Stops (like the rumored Starbucks event) by funneling players to real-life local businesses.
From a business perspective, it’s a great move, and over time would likely result in a huge increase to profits. But, profits are not everything, and the game’s player-base must be considered. Niantic are going to have to address this faulty tracker sooner rather than later unless they want more and more players to jump ship.
Some users over on Reddit have offered suggestions for fixing the tracker, and the most popular idea could work quite well. It’s simple; give the players the ability to switch between the new “nearby” tracker and the old “sightings” tracker at will.
By giving us the ability to switch between trackers at will, we would be able to head to Poke Stops for rare Pokemon (which still allows Niantic to profit from sponsored Poke Stops) as well as track Pokemon that are in our immediate vicinity just as we have since the original three step tracker broke.
In the meantime, however, there are a few pro-active steps that we as players can take. First, head over to the official Facebook page and leave a message complaining about the new tracker. Then do the same on their Google + page, and go to their website and leave some feedback, too.
Niantic have repeatedly told players that they are looking at our feedback, so let’s light it up and really let them know how we feel about the new tracker. And hey, there’s always a chance somebody from Niantic will end up reading this article, so be sure to let me (and them) know what you think of the new tracker in the comments section below!