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Pokemon Go Creators Admit They Botched It

It's been a turbulent few weeks for "Pokemon Go" Developer Niantic, and the company has acknowledged its role in the matter. In a blog post, Niantic provided the findings of its task force, meant to look at the community and its needs, and in doing so admitted that it was not communicating with its fans properly.

"The lack of communication regarding the PokeStop and Gym interaction radius was not handled well on our part, and it was a great learning experience on how to better engage with our players moving forward," Niantic said. "Our top priority is and always has been to get people outside into the real world and creating human connections with each other."

All of this comes after Niantic removed some bonuses it added to the game due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, Niantic expanded its interaction distance for PokeStops and Gyms from 40m to 80m, but later had fans in an uproar after revoking the change. The community argued that the change was positive for "Pokemon Go" overall, making the game more accessible to all sorts of players, including those with disabilities.

Clearly, the community's argument convinced Niantic, since the company made changes after the backlash while announcing that it would make more changes based on its task force findings and now the results are here. Ultimately, Niantic claimed that the incident was due to a failure of communication. Now, the company has revealed what its task force uncovered.

Better communication and global changes

In its blog post, Niantic said the two main things it learned from the task force were how positively the increased interaction distance impacted the game and that it needs to communicate better with the community.

Niantic made it clear that the 80m interaction distance is here to stay However, it said that it is working on ways to continue encouraging players to walk around outside and discover new places. The other big change is that all in-game bonuses will be global moving forward, as Niantic feels that it does not have the resources to quickly make changes on a country by country basis.

Niantic plans on posting developer diaries every other month starting in October to keep fans updated, and will aim to have regular conversations with members of the community. Ultimately, Niantic has been very open about this experience in a way that feels refreshing. While it might take time for the community to begin to trust Niantic again, these changes are a good start for the company and for the future of "Pokemon Go."