Since the removal of the pandemic bonuses from Pokémon GO last week, momentum has been building in the game's community that has today culminated in a boycott. The #HearUsNiantic campaign was launched by players and many influencers in the community in protest of Niantic's removal of and lack of communication regarding the increased PokéStop spin distance. Now, as #HearUsNiantic and #PokemonNODay trend on Twitter, Niantic has indeed issued a response.
Niantic's response to Pokémon GO players addressed the trending reaction:
We appreciate your letter and all of your feedback. We hear you. We are humbled by your response. Not every game has such a passionate, global player base that we're fortunate enough to have.
They then doubled down on their current plans, highlighting that new(ish) Exploration Bonuses have replaced the pandemic bonuses in regions where this current test is being run. They wrote:
The health and wellbeing of players is our top priority, which is why we have implemented the new Exploration Bonuses in select geographies where it is deemed safe to be outdoors. Research has shown that taking walks outside is safe and confers several health benefits. Furthermore, encouraging outdoor exploration is in keeping with Niantic's mission. That said, we will continue to monitor health and safety guidance related to outdoor activities, and will make future changes if necessary.
What most of those dissatisfied with the current state of Pokémon GO will be interested in is, of course, their official response to the reason for the boycott: the reverted PokéStop distance. Niantic did indeed address this, but they have not outright said it'll return to the increased spin distance. They wrote:
However, we have heard your input loud and clear and so to address the concerns you have raised, we are taking the following actions: We are assembling an internal cross-functional team to develop proposals designed to preserve our mission of inspiring people to explore the world together, while also addressing specific concerns that have been raised regarding interaction distance. We will share the findings of this task force by the next in game season change (September 1). As part of this process, we will also be reaching out to community leaders in the coming days to join us in this dialogue.
I don't see this going over well with the community at large, but I do think it underlines what Niantic originally said in the announcement for this Pokémon GO change. This is a test. It has not yet been said that it's a permanent pullback. It is, let's really take this in, a test. Clearly, this test has not been well-received thus far.
Stay tuned to Bleeding Cool for breaking news on this critical point in Pokémon GO's history.