An Open Letter to John Hanke & Niantic
Yang Liu

Pokémon back then: my oldest nephew sitting in a corner of the party playing Pokémon.

Pokémon go a few weeks ago: my youngest nephew running around the neighborhood for hours catching Pokémon.

Two days ago both were nagging if they could leave the party to go sit behind a church in the neighborhood cause it had 3 pokestops.

It’s all about the business model. Niantic stated that the first weeks of Pokémon go didn’t pay off moneywise and their stock lost in value. They are a company after all and have to decide which way to go.

It seems that people running around Tracking Pokémon didn’t do the trick. So making contracts with McDonald’s and other companies might work better moneywise. Removing the Tracking bringe all the farmers to the pokestops. It raises sold modules and boosters and makes more players sit in their contractors pokestops.

I can understand that move. From a business view, it is the less risky way to go. But I have been playing computer games now for more then 30 years. In my opinion, Niantic has developed a game that’s revolutionary. Going down the road of old and established business models now, might kill it all. It’s like Mr. Jobs telling buyers of the first iPhones that the Software thing didn’t work well and they can now just use it as a well designed phone. Will be interesting to watch the decrease in user playtime and if Niantic is able to steer against that trend.

And the guy who said he is speaking for the true Pokémon fans. Your vision is the Nokia in this comparison. Designing the new things like the old ones with new graphics is not going to work for most businesses (see Diablo 3). The nostalgic fans might cheer, but you will not get new ones.

As for me, I hadn’t played Pokémon before and until a few weeks ago I would not have been able to name more then one Pokémon. And I do not play Pokémon Go because I love Pokémon. I love the concept. I do not care if they are named metwo or Alfred. Or if that guy is yellow or looks like dog poo. I love going out there, catching and collecting things. And I love doing it with my kids. And I can’t Drive into the next town, just because nobody played ingress before in my area. It sucks for us to see better Pokémon “in the area”, but only finding 3 rats.

Niantic has a huge advantage at the moment. They can make this big. Even bigger than it is at the moment. But if they don’t, some Startup will take the risk and will develop a game that works the way the average Hunt and Collect user will love. It will just take a few months more.

It’s not like there were no Smartphones before the iPhone. One day someone will come and make this concept work.