After weeks of waiting, Pokémon Go has finally been updated, adding some hugely anticipated features while also removing the step counter.Following the changes, players can now re-customise their character, having previously only been able to choose what they look like during the opening sequence. Pokémon move stats have also been rebalanced to make gyms fairer, while spawn locations for the digital creatures have also been changed somewhat.
There is also a new “lock” which prevents players accidentally swapping their best Pokémon for candy.Plus, to prevent any more tragic accidents, a new warning flicks up on screen every time people play the game; once the Gyarados screen passes, a warning appears with a variety of messages, including “Don’t drive and play Pokémon Go” and “Don’t trespass”.
However, in a move that has prompted anger, instead of fixing the previously broken step counter, Niantic, the developer behind the augmented reality game, has completely removed the feature, meaning players are given no indication as to where nearby Pokémon are.
Players have been calling on the company to fix this feature ever since the game was released; with the update only succeeding in further angering people.
Whether the feature will be fixed or this is a temporary change is unknown, but its effects are already being felt by the community.
Some have reported that third-party websites such as PokéVision have also been affected, although it was unclear whether this was due to the update.
Pokévision, one of the most popular tracking websites for finding Pokémon in Pokémon Go, appears to have shut down, a week after the CEO of the studio that developed the game warned that such services may no longer work.
Forbes and then Kotaku both noticed the closure early this morning. Pokévision was not affiliated with Niantic Labs, Pokémon Go’s maker, or the app itself. It was a third-party knowledge base that revealed where specific Pokémon would spawn on a player’s map and how long they would be available. Pokévision’s FAQ said its data came straight from Niantic, which may have been a violation of the Pokémon Go terms of service.
In an interview with Forbes last week, John Hanke, Niantic’s CEO, called the use of these sites and services cheating. “People are hacking around trying to take data out of our system and that’s against our terms of service,” Hanke said. He added that players “might find in the future that those things may not work.”
That day seems to have come for Pokévision, though its administrators are being vague about what led to the closure. Early this morning, Pokévision tweeted this:
“Hey guys. We wish we had some news for you At this moment, we are respecting Niantic and Nintendo’s wishes.Will keep you guys posted <3”
— Pokevision (@PokeVisionGo) July 31, 2016
Pokévision addedthat “we kept it up as long as reasonably possible. Maybe things will change in the next few days.” Kotaku contacted Pokévision’s owner about the closure, but he gave vague answers as to why it was taken down. He told Forbes “it possibly could be” shut down indefinitely.
The closure is particularly upsetting to Pokémon Go players who not only feel they have done nothing wrong, but also suffered through the “three-step” glitch that incorrectly showed all nearby Pokémon as being the furthest away from the user. That was, incredibly, “fixed” by simply removing the one-, two- or three-steps indicator and showing only what type of Pokémon was nearby, without any idea of proximity.
Users are pouring out their anger through Twitter and Pokémon Go’s subreddit. We’ve reached out to two Niantic representatives to ask about the studio’s role in this closure and its response to fans’ anger over the footsteps issue and Pokévision’s shutdown.