Pokémon GO Task Force Issues Statement to Players and Promises Change

Pokemon go
Image: Niantic

The Pokémon GO ‘Task Force’, an internal group of developer Niantic that hopes to address player feedback, has issued a statement to players offering updates on their progress.

As you may recall, Pokémon GO players joined last month after being frustrated and upset by Niantic’s decision to roll back the initially added changes to help players stay safe during the pandemic. In open letters to the company, fans hoped Niantic would see that the changes, including a greater interaction radius for PokéStops, had benefits that go beyond the pandemic, wanting them to remain in the game permanently.

The Task Force soon met to address these concerns and it was recently announced that the increased radius would now remain intact. This, along with other promises related to seasonal bonuses and communication, has been detailed in today’s release. Here it is in its entirety, written by executive producer Steve Wang.:

“First, I want to thank you for your patience. Your passion and concerns have not gone unnoticed by us these past few weeks, and our internal working group has spent a lot of time discussing the changes we made to the interaction distances of the PokéStop and the Gym. Now we want to give you an update as promised.

What we hear from the community
PokéStops and gyms are one of the ways we try to push Trainers out and discover new places, walk another mile or two, and meet others. It has been inspiring to see so many players from around the world come together as a result of this design. To me, it means that Pokémon GO is important to a lot of people and it means that the Trainers expressed their concerns because they care about the game.

We’ve been listening to player feedback and also set up four roundtable conversations in which I spoke with over 30 community leaders from around the world (thank you all for your participation!). The two main topics we heard were:
– The 80 meter interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms has been an incredibly positive improvement in quality of life over the last year and a half.
– Niantic has a lot of room to grow when it comes to communicating with our players.

Interaction distance between the PokéStop and the gym
We understand that the increased interaction distance of 80 meters became a welcome benefit for many players, that’s clear from the feedback we saw from the community. So we want to keep it: as announced last week, 80 meters (not 40 meters) will be the base interaction radius for PokéStops and Gyms globally from now on.

We continue to believe in the importance of discovering interesting places and things in the real world, and we don’t want to lose sight of that. The team and I are eager to develop new ways that will motivate and reward Trainers for exploring and exercising in the real world. As a result of the working group, we have new ideas to explore and we look forward to sharing more in the coming months.

Global Seasonal Bonds
We recently went through a difficult learning experience when we had to adjust the game settings for New Zealand quickly in response to its crash. This experience taught us that we will not be able to effectively adjust the experience on a country-by-country basis in real time. Starting with the Season of Mischief, all bonuses will be set globally and tied directly to the seasons in Pokémon GO.

We should communicate and engage more with the trainers. Hope, with your patience and understanding, we can do better here. There are many ways we can improve, but to begin with, we make the following commitments to you:
– Starting in October, we will begin publishing a developer diary every two months to share the latest priorities, events, and game features.
– We will hold regular conversations with community leaders to continue the dialogue that we started this month.
– We will continue our work to update the Known Issues page, and in those efforts we will prioritize providing greater visibility into the status of existing bugs for Trainers.

We love how passionate Pokémon GO Trainers are about this game, and we want you to know how passionate we are about the game and the community as well. The lack of communication regarding the interaction radius of the PokéStop and the Gym was not handled well on our part, and it was a great learning experience on how to better interact with our players in the future. Our top priority is and always has been to get people out of the real world and create human connections with each other. Thank you for being part of this journey with us; you will soon hear from us again. “


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