Pokémon GO recently received an update, but many loyalists of the game feel cheated by the contents in Niantic's latest patch.
Niantic Labs, the Pokémon GO creator, faces a hailstorm of criticism on Reddit, where fans of the popular mobile game are complaining about the company's decision to remove features and block third-party apps that allowed them to hunt for Pokémon.
Those who are not versed in the ways of Pokémon GO should know that the game initially had a system called "Nearby," which was crafted so that it would display how close a player was to wild Pokémon.
For example, if you saw three "footprints" next to a tiny monster icon, that Pokémon was farther from you than others with only one or two marks. This provided some players with a good strategy on hunting the adorable little critters, basically by using the "warmer/colder" method until they catch them.
As the feature, alongside many other aspects of the game, was seriously buggy, the gaming community decided to build its own alternative variant. PokéVision is one of the most sought after solutions that aided players with their hunts.
In its latest update, Niantic axed both ways to find Pokémon, simultaneously.
The gaming company did not stop at removing the footprint system, but it now also opposes the use of third-party Pokémon tracking apps.
The most renowned tracking site, PokéVision, is out of order, with its developers unable to give an estimate on when it will be live again. Another important site that helped players complete their Pokémon collection is PokeHound.com, and it also went MIA.
It's anyone's guess whether or not these apps were faced with the prospect of locking horns with Niantic in a legal suit, as no official statement from Nintendo, Niantic, The Pokémon Company or PokéVision is available.
According to investigations ran by Redditors, Niantic is voluntarily sabotaging the third-party apps. It seems that the gaming company is throttling the apps so that players must wait about 5 seconds before requesting Pokémon locations. What is more, some third-party developers speculate that Niantic has actually locked the IP addresses of cloud service providers (such as Amazon Web Services) that are hosting the third-party tracking apps.
There is no solid evidence that Niantic is actually up for such mischievous actions, or that it will not bring back the "Nearby" system once it polishes it so it runs without a glitch. What is sure is that players are left with very few means to effectively find and catch wild Pokémon.
As you can imagine, a lot of them are furious. Take a look at this tweet, belonging to one of PokéVision's founders, which ranked more than 4,200 retweets.
You don't invent Marco Polo, get 80M players to join, then remove the Polo part and expect people to keep playing.
— Yang (@YangCLiu) July 31, 2016
What you should know is that Reddit has a thread dedicated to the changes in the immensely admired mobile game, while another one asks Apple and Google to pay back what gamers spent on in-game purchases. As the game suffered significant changes over the last update, the outraged users might have a point: indeed, this is no longer the Pokémon GO they signed up for.
From the two big companies, Apple seems to honor the requests, which does not bode well for Niantic.