The Pokemon Go phenomenon
Christian Hernandez

Have you ever hated something so much you threw it to the ground in disgust, only to immediately realize you have lost a thing you love deeply, and pick it back up and hold it near your heart. ( A story of Pokemon GO).

I think this piece is one of the best middle of the road semi-fluffy articles I have read in a while. It does however feel lacking in substance, which it tries to make up for in praising John Hanke. I’m in the top % of players, and in the top % of spenders, and have more information for you.

This game broke down the walls between interpersonal human relationships and technology/the internet. John Hanke deserves the first Nobel Techno-Peace prize. Pokemon GO did more to combat child obesity in 7 days than Michelle Obama did in 7 years. There were miracles happening and the world was rejoicing. (Except those folks that have homes near gym’s.)

There were server instability issues, there were bugs, and not a single care was given by most of us, even with the breakage of the in-game tracker, we found ways to adapt and overcome because we were living a dream. We trusted in John. As a community, we were together.

At this point it sort of feels like success and overconfidence started what would become the potential downfall of Pokemon GO and a loss of at least 25%+ of its player base within 24 hours. A flurry of articles came out, folks were asking John directly about PokeVision and the other 3rd party tools, which once looked into, were determined to be TOS violations and probably causing some back-end performance issues of their own.

8.1.2016 “the update” was released and all hell broke loose. What follows can only be attributed to nobody at Niantic being prepared to engage with or handle the largest user community on the planet.

Tracker was removed and replaced with a “this might be 70m from you” menu that in no way allows for tracking or location of Pokemon. 3rd party sites shut down, no official word from Niantic. Suddenly the core mechanics have changed, nobody knows really why, all community assistance has been stopped, and nobody at Niantic is responding to us.

The largest refund rush experienced by an application occurs. Apple and Google both have to set up teams to deal with the large number of calls requesting refunds and reporting Niantic’s violations of Google/Apple TOS. We don’t have numbers, but the leeroy jenkins math says between 25%-50% of all customers requested some type of refund. Most were requests for “all previous transactions” requests.

An immediate drop in foot traffic was seen across the community, between 20–40% depending on location and time of day. Community polls show more than 70% of the user community is now playing much less, or not playing at all.

In response to the events unfolding, on I think it was 8.3.2016 Niantic releases a typical PR marketing statement “were working on stuff” which enrages the user community even more.

8.3.2016 In response to failing revenue from users in existing markets, Niantic prioritizes releasing the broken application to Latin America to get the non-stop, incessant screaming of BRAZILLLLLL on everything Pokemon related.

8.4.2016. A majority of the user community still seems to be heartbroken, we would really like to hear from John about the events that have taken place, we would love to play Pokemon Go, but these days John seems more like the all-powerful dictator than the benevolent leader.

Treating the Pokemon GO community the same way you have treated the Ingress community may result in a much smaller community.

Please do the right thing John.


(Apologies for spelling, grammar, punctuation)

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated Jason Brinkley’s story.