Turns out there isn't that many Apple Watch users playing Pokémon GO these days. Niantic has decided to end support for the Apple Watch version of the game. Beginning July 1, players won't be able to connect their Apple Watch to the app anymore.
Niantic is encouraging users to switch to using its Adventure Sync feature instead, which tracks steps and other sorts of data by integrating with third-party apps.
Bye-Bye, Pokémon GO For Apple Watch
Pokémon GO Hub was the first to spot the change, which is reflected in Niantic's support article online. By dropping support for the device, says Niantic, it was able to focus on building the aforementioned Adventure Sync feature.
"Because Adventure Sync allows Trainers the option of tracking their steps, earning Buddy Candy, and hatching Eggs in one mobile device rather than two separate devices, we want to focus on building Adventure Sync so that Trainers will no longer have to split their gameplay between two devices," says Niantic.
The Apple Watch version of Pokémon GO was announced back in 2016 and rolled out a few months later. Obviously given the small screen, players couldn't play the full game on their watch — instead, it connected to their iPhone and displayed how far still before an egg hatches, showed how many experience points they'd earned, and alerted them in case of a nearby Pokémon or Pokéstop.
The app also integrated with Apple Health and Google Fit data so that users could view their overall progress in terms of distances traveled. It's easy to see why the app is no longer necessary. In most ways, Adventure Sync can replicate nearly all the functionality provided by the Apple Watch app, which needs to be paired with an iPhone and tends to be buggy, as 9to5Mac notes.
It's hard to imagine many people complaining about this change, though. After all, there aren't that many playing Pokémon GO still — the game still has a loyal core audience, of course, but its engagement these days is no match compared to the uproarious hype it got shortly after being released in 2016. Back then, Pokémon GO was a global phenomenon, with everyone seemingly hooked on the game, traveling great distances, even, just to catch a Pokémon or participate in events.
What do you think of Niantic's move to cut off Pokémon GO support on the Apple Watch? As always, if you have any thoughts, feel free to sound them off in the comments section below!