Hey guys! I have discussed the reasons for my not playing the game as much, and I have dipped my toes in here and there recently, as you probably guessed from my Porygon Community Day Round-Up post. However, I’m writing this on a more serious note.
I didn’t actually expect this post, and I didn’t want to have to write this post, but I felt that the situation is serious enough for deliberation.
The first thing that was announced was the GO to HOME integration, which is coming by the end of 2020. Of course, people rejoiced, and then news broke via Serebii that ‘There will be a cost in PokeCoins in Pokemon GO to transfer Pokemon from Pokemon GO to Pokemon HOME‘, as reported by a Pokemon Support article. And lemme tell you, all hell broke loose. This is because not only are most players using the Premium service for HOME, they would then be forced to pay to transfer Pokemon to the service that they already pay for.
Of course, this compounds with there only being paid forms of Remote Raid Passes, the inability to convert Free or Premium Raid Passes to Remote, the influx of Egg events dating back from summer 2019, the Community Day special tickets (which I only bought for the purpose to report on them), and Mega Raids and the system of Mega Evolution (but I already discussed this in a previous post). I do recall writing about the issue of monetisation in the game as far back as last year.
Since then, a new clarification has been posted by the Pokemon Support page (as reported again by Serebii), where it mentions that after transferring, you will have a cooldown period before transferring again, and this can be shortened by paying PokeCoins. Now, I think the cooldown period will be up to 48 hours, but 24 hours maximum seems to be more realistic. You see, that’s better than the previous statement, because it means that it’d just take us a bit longer to transfer everything, but at the same time we have that premium option if we feel that we need to have it in place.
(EDIT 17/11/20 – my good friend Steve pointed out the hilarity of my prediction, as the outcome ended up being a lot worse than we predicted. It’s pretty horrible – go here for my reaction to it).
The next news pretty much was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Niantic announced that the Special Bonuses put in place for the COVID-19 pandemic were to end on October 1st, 1pm PST (9pm BST). Of course, these were the bonuses affected:
- Eggs will be reverted to normal distance.
- Incense will only have boosted effectiveness while walking.
- Buddy Pokemon will only bring Gifts when you have nearly run out, once per day.
- You won’t be guaranteed to get a Gift when spinning a PokeStop.
See, this is in a time when COVID-19 cases are on the rise, and governments and regions are subjected to return to lockdown. It’s a poor decision, considering that COVID deaths have just hit the 1 million mark. I’m not entirely sure who decided to lift some of these Special Bonuses, but these are times when anyone could literally go outside, wearing a mask and social distancing, and still catch the virus. The changes brought in in March were amazing, and it did bring me back after I did quit for a while.
ZoëTwoDots has made a video questioning why Niantic, as well as The Pokemon Company International, has decided to start rolling back these features at this time. She has put forward really good points in the video. Other prominent figures in the Pokemon community such as Reversal and VirtuallyMarti have also weighed in with their opinions of this decision, with the latter demonstrating the situation with COVID that is happening in the UK alone.
As I mentioned before with their monetisation decisions, Niantic has not been succeeding on an executive level to warm others to their decisions. We knew that the Special Bonuses were only temporary, and that was fine. However, with the global environment not seeing improvement, I see no reason why the Special Bonuses could stay as they are, at least up until winter, with a review of the situation then. It is not worth it to risk your health and safety just for a Pokemon. I mean, going outside and getting exercise is okay if you can leave your home to go for a walk. However, it is imperative that you stay safe.
The Egg distance is the only one that I’m sort-of okay with, had it not been activated the day before the Fashion event, which is focused on the Egg-only Smoochum wearing a bow (I mean, I don’t care for Smoochum, but some people do).
And all of this happens, and then the Victini Special Research drops, and emphasises the poor planning on the part of Niantic (for example, loweing effectiveness of Incense and then making people catch around 90 Pokemon, and then making people go out and spin 30 PokeStops). It’s just a huge PR disaster in the making.
As it stands right now, I want to get my Buddy Perrserker, dedicated to my dearly departed cat Baldrick, to Best Buddies, and then…the only time I’ll touch the game is to do the transfers to HOME. There have been times when I’ve been reeled back into the game, but I think the changes at this given time has shown the insensitivity on an executive level, on both Niantic and The Pokemon Company International. This affects the brand on a negative level.
It’s not the fault of the engineers, or the programmers, or the graphic designers, or the marketing and PR team. I’m sure you’re angry with the marketing team not responding to the complaints, but what if they’re not allowed to complain?
Whew, that was a heavy unload.