The world has felt different since July 6, 2016 and it has nothing to do with politics, economics, or even some new fictional story or music. No, July 6 was the day that the world (well, North America, at least) first installed Pokémon Go on their smartphones. The days and weeks since have seen a global obsession begin. Pokémon have left handheld and console games, entering the real world locations thanks to developer Niantic’s integration of actual maps with the classic first generation Pokémon. This has reignited interest in Pikachu, Snorlax, and the rest of the original monsters. But what do we think of Pokémon Go one month later?
Has the game fulfilled all its promise yet? Is all the love deserved? Are there some bits that still need to be fixed? And how does Pokémon Go keep growing and evolving to make sure it doesn’t become a flash-in-the-pan fad? Follow along for the positives, negatives, and the future of Pokémon Go.
Pokémon Go‘s strongest aspect is just how easily it pulls you in from the first moment, making your first few Pokémon easy to catch, and it just builds from there. Just like in a traditional Pokémon game, Pokémon Go sets you out into the world with your starter Pokémon, and you gradually add to your collection, starting with common monsters like Zubats and Pidgeys. From there you add more and more entries to your Pokédex, pushing you to play more. Even when you’ve moved up to catching more rare ones, a common Rattata is worth the small amount of stardust a capture gets you.
And if the developers wanted to create social connections with Pokémon Go, they’ve succeeded. So many social posts have been shared showing dozens or even hundreds of people joining up in real life to catch a rare Pokémon together. The app is getting many people to be more active and outgoing than they’d usually be. Not to mention that Pokémon Go has become a huge financial success, with the app earning $200 million already. General interest in upcoming games like Pokémon Sun and Moon has also increased, which bodes well for The Pokémon Company and Nintendo . Pokémon Go has reminded millions of people why they loved the pocket monsters in the first place.
Of course, not everything is perfect in the world of Pokémon Go. To start, there are still features that were promised pre-release that have yet to appear, in particular trading Pokémon between players. There’s also the safety issues that more than a few people have had from playing Pokémon Go while driving or trespassing on private property. Although, the response to the latter has been the hilariously obvious messages that appear every time you start the game up.
Then there are the on-and-off issues with undependable servers — that seems to be in the past, but can you trust the servers will stay up? And speaking of undependable, some very common monsters should be much easier to catch than they are, especially after the recent update. I can’t be the only person who has wasted a dozen Poké Balls trying way too hard to catch a weak Zubat.
But the biggest negative of the game has to be the lack of communication from Niantic. For all the issues that have popped up big (broken servers) and small (how to evolve Eevees), the silence is deafening from Niantic’s community team. The company has said they’re going to be more giving with updates in the future, so hopefully, they’ve learned their lesson there.
What Needs to Happen Next?
For Pokémon Go one month later, Niantic had an impressive update ready for players. Not everything got fixed, but it was great to see that the footstep gauge for Pokémon distance now shows what monsters are actually close, even showing what landmarks have which Pokémon nearby. That should just be the start though. The battery saving options in it really need to be fixed, because without a true power-saving option, Pokémon Go will continue to kill batteries left and right.
In addition to the power options, future updates definitely need to add trading to the system. Also, there should be an option to do something with all the unused evolution orbs sitting around for redundant Pokémon. And how about legendaries like Mewtwo finally making an appearance in the wild? As Pokémon Go continues to grow and change, these are the types of features and fixes that need to start showing up ASAP as the app enters its second month.