Pokemon Go boycott Pokémon GO Players Are Boycotting The Game: Niantic’s Strategy Explained

Niantic, the creators of Pokémon GO, has started rolling back adjustments to the game for users affected by the global outbreak over the last two months (read: all of them). They specifically deleted the expanded interaction range for several areas of interest in the United States and New Zealand yesterday – the former of which is having a COVID outbreak.

For many players, the Pokemon Go boycott, which resulted in the famous #PokemonNoDay trend, was “the straw that broke the camel’s back,” and Niantic has detailed how it has affected their procedures.

The first updates to Pokémon GO focused on safety and accessibility, extending the distance at which players could interact with PokéStops and gyms and ensuring that players didn’t have to leave the house to collect crucial supplies like the Pokémon-summoning Incense.

Thousands of gamers rallied in August to protest a number of gaming changes, including the elimination of a bonus designed to encourage trainers to continue playing during the global health crisis.

While some features, such as extended Incense duration and remote battles, will remain in the game, the elimination of many others has enraged the Pokémon GO community, including some of the game’s most well-known players.

Raids with the two legendaries will be held between August 20 and September 1 as part of this year’s Ultra Unlock, which are challenges to unlock special events.

“It looks that Hoopa, who recently caused trouble during Pokémon Go Fest 2021, was the one who brought them to Pokémon Go,” Niantic said in a statement. “Skwovet, Greedent, Wooloo, Dubwool, and Falinks will also be joining them in Pokémon Go.” You might even come across a Shiny Galarian Meowth, Shiny Galarian Farfetch’d, Shiny Galarian Weezing, or a Shiny Galarian Stunfisk if you’re lucky!

Trainers with large followings, such as Leek Duck, ZoTwoDots, and Brandon Tan, took to Twitter to express their dissatisfaction in the form of a letter written by the community:

The community members expressed their “disappointment” with Niantic’s decision to delete the adjustments, particularly the limitation in the interaction range, in the letter. The greater interaction radius, according to the letter, contributed to a safer, more accessible, and more respectful method of playing the game, as it didn’t necessitate entering unsafe places, trespassing, or blocking entrances.

Niantic recently eliminated the social distancing feature from the game, forcing players to approach closer to spin Pokéstops or battle in Gyms, as Kotaku previously reported. Because of the decreased radius, people must congregate closer together, with some gamers claiming that they must congregate even closer than before the pandemic. The elimination of this function appears naive to reality as instances surge across the United States and vaccinated persons are encouraged to mask up. Is it possible that things are better in Galar? I certainly hope so!

The letter claims that “trainers were led to believe that this extended PokéStop interaction radius would be permanent,” citing a November 19th blog update:

“Some of these changes, like as the ability to raid from afar, modifications to the GO Battle League, and the increased distance at which you may spin Photo Discs at Gyms and PokéStops, will be in place for the foreseeable future.”

A petition on Change.org with over 160,000 signatures considers the increased interaction distance “one of the best modifications [Niantic] has ever made, making the game safer to play and more accessible for everybody,” and begs for players to boycott the game and Niantic until the firm replies. YouTuber ZoTwoDots and Twitch streamer PkmnMaster Holly joined the boycott call, with the former saying she wouldn’t buy the game until Niantic agreed to keep the COVID improvements, and the latter refusing to stream it.

Aside from the difficulties raised in the letter, the pandemic is far from ended for a large segment of society. Over the last two weeks, new case increases have been recorded in Florida, Iran, Thailand, and Turkey, and many people have not yet been properly vaccinated. For most game players, it’s either impossible to play the game as they used to, or it’s still extremely dangerous.

Since then, Niantic has announced the formation of a community task force to monitor issues made by players, resulting in the publication of a new developer diary on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, some of the boycotting and criticizing has been aimed at specific developers and community managers, and many of the big personalities in Pokémon GO have requested their fans not to transform their complaints into abuse in videos and tweets.

Because many fans believe Niantic isn’t listening to them, they’ve decided to boycott the game. Players used the hashtag #BoycottNiantic to express their disgust when Niantic introduced the beautiful new creatures on Twitter yesterday. Players are expressing their dissatisfaction with the game in the replies to the initial tweet. Some speculated that these Ultra Unlock monsters were simply an attempt for Niantic to win back gamers following their divisive move to modify the distances without actually addressing the problem.

Eurogamer received the following statement from Niantic:

“We’re adding new exploration bonuses for players in the United States and New Zealand, as well as deleting or modifying some of the bonuses introduced last year, as we stated in June. People can check the Today View in the game to see which benefits they have access to. We’ll keep an eye on health and safety recommendations for outdoor activities.”

Since the boycott, Niantic has prioritized communication, and collaborating with community leaders has already yielded results.

“In fact, we hold frequent roundtable discussions with community leaders from all across the world.” We won’t be able to do this with every single participant in the community, but there are a few people who we believe represent our worldwide community well and with whom we can bounce ideas and get real-time input on what’s going on.

Steranka further mentioned that the team is working hard to address identified issues and provide better updates as necessary. They also mentioned a future Kecleon event throughout the conversation.


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