A while back, I wrote an article (more of a rant, really) about the lack of quality control required before launching a game as one of the main reasons I don’t talk about new RPGs on this blog. I talked about Lost Dimension and its excessive amount of bugs and glitches, causing me to end up hating a game I should have absolutely loved. Well, it’s happened again. Another game has surfaced that is riddled with bugs, and a lack of communication from the developer about said bugs. I think that if you are a human person, you should know which game I’m talking about. Today’s culprit is the newly-famous Pokemon Go.
As we all know, Pokemon Go has taken the world by storm (or at least the parts of the world the game has launched so far). It’s a great way to spend your time while travelling, you meet lots of new people while playing the game, and it’s an overall pleasant experience. The game has been out for more than two weeks for many of the launched countries, and even as I’m writing this article, Hong Kong has been launched.
While I don’t necessarily agree with the fact that they launched a few countries at a time, I understand that there are laws and regulations at work that is hindering a global launch. My real issues here stem from the fact that new countries are being added BEFORE major bug fixes have been corrected. The footprint method for tracking Pokemon has been bugged for over a week, and seemingly longer for other players according to tweets I’ve seen. I’ve even messaged Niantic about the issue through their “report a bug” section of the site, and have not heard anything. It’s not even on their list of known issues. Instead of using a core feature in the game, I am forced to rely on third-party websites that are able to track Pokemon locations for me.
Aside from this, the game still freezes intermittently, the graphics can be buggy, and the game has forced me to restart the app on a regular basis. So why did the game launch when it was not ready for the public. I have some theories.
First, I’m sure there was some shareholder pressure to launch the game that had been hyped up for all this time. Even with the broken game launch, Pokemon Go has made record amounts of money from the general public. Granted, this would have happened regardless of when the game launched, but there has been guaranteed success to get money sooner rather than later.
Second, the window of launch has happened during the summer months. By launching when the weather is nice and warm, more people are encouraged to go out and enjoy the game. I know I hate the winter and do whatever I can to not go out when it’s frigid cold.
Third, the voices of complaints are being drowned out by the fact that the game is still being played. I’m sure that there are those who are not bothering to play until the bugs have been fixed and the game is more stable. Frankly, I don’t blame them. These people however are a minority in comparison to the millions of users on every day catching Pokemon.
As always, I can understand all of these reasons for launching the game when they did. That doesn’t mean I excuse the fact that core mechanics of the game are not functioning the way they should. Have I stopped playing? No. In fact, I still encourage people to play the game. What I do need to say is that Niantic’s refusal to address the current issues, and focus more on launching the game in new countries instead is a mistake. They should really be focusing on their current customer base first. Until they do, I will not be putting any further money into the game for fear of losing a timed item due to server outage and not being compensated for it.
I sincerely hope that Niantic gets their act together.