With great success comes significant pressure, and in recent days that's started to weigh a little on Pokémon GO. A double-whammy of an unpopular update - which removed rather than fixed the '3-step' display - and the closing down of third-party apps caused a bit of a storm online. We considered some of the rights and wrongs of the latter in an editorial.
Facing some of the most sustained criticism yet from keen players, Niantic has now posted on Facebook to address some complaints. It doesn't say a great deal when broken down, but is clearly more of an effort to manage the current backlash and communicate.
The message says the following:
As many of you know, we recently made some changes to Pokémon GO.
- We have removed the '3-step' display in order to improve upon the underlying design. The original feature, although enjoyed by many, was also confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals. We will keep you posted as we strive to improve this feature.
- We have limited access by third-party services which were interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users and to bring Pokémon GO to users around the world. The large number of users has made the roll-out of Pokémon GO around the world an... interesting… challenge. And we aren't done yet! Yes, Brazil, we want to bring the game to you (and many other countries where it is not yet available).
We have read your posts and emails and we hear the frustration from folks in places where we haven't launched yet, and from those of you who miss these features. We want you to know that we have been working crazy hours to keep the game running as we continue to launch globally. If you haven't heard us Tweeting much it's because we've been heads down working on the game. But we'll do our best going forward to keep you posted on what's going on.
Be safe, be nice to your fellow trainers, and keep on exploring.
The Pokémon GO team
It's tricky to determine how much the current debates around the app are actually relevant to the enormous mainstream audience that the game has accrued, but as we argued yesterday it's in Niantic's interest to keep the most eager players on board; they are, after all, likely to be the long term future of the app.
What do you think of this post from Niantic? Good communication or PR-driven damage limitation? A bit of both? Let us know in the comments.