Shopping for a better offline strategy for Pokémon GO

Take your Pokémon GO Offline (First)

When Ash Ketchum committed to a life of illegally poaching animals and forcing them to fight each other — he did this all without the aid of the internet.

Pokémon GO is everywhere now. In spite of this game’s wild overnight success, the experience of playing the game has not gone without problems.

Problems With Launch

If you’ve played the game, you are probably familiar with a slew of problems and buggy behavior. Namely, and most annoyingly, the servers appear to be in a constant state of overload.

Even though they have been kind enough to provide a server status page, the experience of game play gets infuriating fast once you start having connectivity issues: pop ups, the spinning Pokéball of death, and then finally losing your session completely...

What if Pokémon GO had been Offline First?

Offline First

Offline First is a strategy for designing and developing applications to work with little or no internet connection. With Offline First, you design/develop for the users who have the poorest internet connectivity first, and then the rest follow.

Syncing Data

Data syncing is a big part of the Offline First discussion.

What if the data attached to Pokémon spawns, items at Pokéstops and gyms in the world were synced to your client?

Having stale, un-synced, out-of-date data can ruin the multiplayer experience if not handled correctly

Technologies like CouchDB’s replication protocol consider syncing issues like conflicts upfront rather than finding out about them halfway through a project.

Offline Mapping

There’s a lot of buzz around offline maps and the challenges that come with them. Pokémon highlights the games dependency on GPS and maps for offline users.

What could be done to predict what map tiles and location data could be cached in preparation for where the players are traveling?

Ash Ketchum was Offline First

Many of the major problems that users of Pokémon GO are experiencing could be avoided if the app was designed to be Offline First.

With better data syncing, intelligent caching, and further integration with offline maps, players of Pokémon GO who are out in the wild with poor connectivity could have a vastly better experience.

*Gotta Cache Em All*

Written by Pokémon trainers Maureen McElaney and Zac Colley (who wrote this online.)

Want to chat more about Offline First? Join the Offline First community on Slack: