Pokemon Go developer vows better communication with players after outcry

Niantic has announced changes it will make to improve its transparency with players after the studio controversially reduced gym and PokeStop ranges.

Kevin Knezevic Former staff writer
Kevin has been covering video games and tech since 2010, with a particular focus on Nintendo and Pokemon. Squirtle is the best starter and nothing will convince him otherwise.
Kevin Knezevic
2 min read

Niantic says it will be more transparent with players after backlash following its decision to change Pokemon Go's interaction radius.


Pokemon Go developer Niantic has promised greater transparency with players after a recent outcry over its decision to roll back the game's increased gym and PokeStop ranges. 

In the wake of that controversial move, the studio formed an internal task force, which met with prominent members of the Pokemon Go community and outlined ways it will improve communication with the player base moving forward.

"We should be communicating and engaging more with Trainers. I hope that, with your patience and understanding, we can do better here," Pokemon Go executive producer Steve Wang acknowledged on the game's official blog

To improve transparency and communication, Niantic will publish a developer diary every other month beginning in October that will discuss "the latest priorities, events, and features for the game."

Additionally, Niantic says it will set up "regular communications" with community leaders, as well as continue to update its known issues page to "prioritize bringing greater visibility into the status of existing bugs."

The controversy began back in July when Niantic reverted Pokemon Go's gym and PokeStop interaction radius to its original distance, 40 meters (131 feet). After fans and prominent members of the community released an open letter decrying the move, Niantic reversed course and announced it would permanently increase the interaction radius to 80 meters (262 feet).

Niantic had also adjusted some of Pokemon Go's other temporary in-game bonuses, which were initially implemented to make the game easier to play amid to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to ongoing virus surges in different countries, however, the studio will now make all in-game bonuses global, and they'll change every season.

"We went through a rough learning experience recently when we had to adjust the game settings for New Zealand quickly in response to their lockdown," Wang wrote. "This experience taught us that we are not going to 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 at a global level and be tied directly to the seasons in Pokemon Go." 

During the current Season of Mischief, all players will receive triple the normal amount of XP for spinning PokeStops for the first time. Lure modules will also last twice as long as normal, and incenses will continue to have increased effectiveness.

Niantic has a number of Pokemon Go events lined up for September, including the debut of Hoopa on Sept. 5. Pokemon Go's September Community Day, meanwhile, takes place on Sept. 19 and stars the water Pokemon Oshawott.