Pokémon GO’s quick rise and demise

capturepokemonOver the summer, Nintendo teamed up with software development company Niantic to produce Pokémon GO, an app that allows a user to capture fictional Pokémon in “real life” utilizing GPS and augmented reality. According to a study done by Bloomberg L.P., Pokémon GO lost 15 million players in the month of August, just one month after its initial release. Since then the game has been steadily losing players.

“One of the things with Pokémon is just interacting with other people. Battling, trading, and going out with friends just faded out, so I stopped playing” freshmen Barbara Hogendoorn said. “With no friends playing it, it got boring just by myself”

The decrease in players was caused by various issues such as bugs in the game and Niantic refusing to address many of the problems.

“There were so many crashes at the beginning, there were many days where you couldn’t play. So many bugs just to be worked out” registrar Suzanna Pangilinan said. “It got boring after a while. It was just the same thing over and over and just having to deal with so many issues in the game.”

To try and draw players back into the game, Niantic created Pokémon GO Plus, a Bluetooth enabled accessory that vibrates when an in-game event such as a Pokémon or a Pokéstop (a pitstop like area where players can get in game items) appears. Unfortunately, these devices are very hard to get a hold of, most are sold out within 30 minutes of a store opening and they are sold online at very inflated prices.

Niantic is also trying to draw players back into the game by having timed events. For example, players received more in-game bonuses and ghost Pokémon were more common to catch during the week of Halloween. Recently, Niantic increased the amount of Pokémon appearing for a limited a time during the week of the 7th-11th.

“It sounds like right now [Niantic] is doing a whole lot of really cool fun stuff, but it seems like they kinda waited. I already took the app off my phone” Pangilinan said.
Although many people have stopped playing, not all players have been completely drawn away from the game.

“I play Pokémon GO as something to do when I am walking,” senior David Ott said, “I don’t really try to make an effort to play it [anymore].”

While stepping in the right direction by adding events, Niantic reversed its progress by adding a “speed cap”, meaning that if a player is moving over 20 miles per hour no Pokémon would spawn and no items could be attainable from a Pokéstop. Essentially all playability from car or bus was taken away. By doing this, Niantic took away what gave many players their daily supplies of items for the day.

“It’s just not as fun as other games that I can play on my computer,” said Ott.