As quickly as it became a phenomenon, Pokémon Go is now becoming an unwelcome source of anger and frustration. Over the weekend, Niantic rolled out its latest update to its augmented reality game that, among other features, removed measured tracking of Pokémon, making it much harder for players to seek out Pokémon in their area. Niantic’s generally poor customer service as well as its shutdown of third-party apps like the popular Pokévision (which allowed players to find individual Pokémon) have frustrated its user base, many of whom are now demanding refunds and/or have stopped playing completely.
Before the update, Pokémon Go had a semi-useful tracking tool in which Pokémon in the area were measured by “footsteps.” Three footsteps meant Pokémon were approximately one kilometer away, while one footstep meant the Pokémon was within about 10 meters. No footsteps meant you’re practically stepping over the little guy. Weeks before the update, the tracking feature became buggy, and all Pokémon no matter how close were measured with three footsteps.
However, after the weekend’s update there are now no footsteps, rendering the feature useless as well as undercutting the fun of, you know, going out and finding Pokémon. Players have responded to Niantic with fury, flooding the app’s rating on iTunes to one star (there is no star rating as of this writing).
Customer service is another front in which Pokémon Go players have been outraged. They noticed that Niantic’s support email is unmonitored, which is an apparent violation of Apple and Google Play regulations (“Wow, this place went from ‘We love Pokémon Go’ to ‘Fuck Niantic’ overnight”, reads that thread’s top comment). Attempts to reach Niantic via Twitter are fruitless, as Niantic’s Twitter has been silent since July 23, which was during San Diego Comic-Con weekend.
“This what they get for making us go outside,” wrote user Trenix whose top comment is in a thread titled, “This Sub[reddit] Went From ‘How Can We Find Ditto’ to ‘How Can We Take Down Niantic’ In A Day.” Other posts involve players pointing out how to obtain refunds. And naturally, an abundance of memes have popped up, from “Make Pokémon Go Great Again” (Top comment: “Crooked Niantic are ruining our game! Sad!”) to users pointing out the resemblance of Niantic’s hot air balloon in its logo to the evil Team Rocket, the eternal antagonists of the Pokémon universe.
“The only thing flying are the players. Away from the game,” reads one comment.