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Pokemon Go creator Niantic tries to calm angry users, admits features ‘confusing’

A Pikachu toy sits next to a smartphone with the PokemonGo app.
Aurelien Morissard | IP3 | Getty Images
A Pikachu toy sits next to a smartphone with the PokemonGo app.

The creator of hit game "Pokemon Go" has tried to appease users after a software update over the weekend sparked a social media backlash, pushing the company to admit some of its features were "confusing".

Niantic, the game's developer, released an update which included:

  • Removing a function which gave an indication about what Pokemon were nearby and how far they were. This feature broke down just a couple of weeks after the game's release. Niantic kept the box which shows the nearby Pokemon, but removed the indicator showing how far they are.
  • Blocking third-party apps which popped up allowing people to track the exact location of Pokemon. One such app was Pokevision which is currently unavailable.

This led to anger from users on social media who posted tweets like this.

But now Niantic has moved to explain why it took those actions. In a Facebook post, the U.S. company said it removed the indicator showing how far Pokemon were because it was "confusing and did not meet our underlying product goals".

It also blamed the third-party tracking apps for "interfering with our ability to maintain quality of service for our users". For the days following the release of "Pokemon Go", users reported problems with the app crashing or being slow. According to market research firm App Annie, "Pokemon Go" has now passed 100 million installs globally, sparking speculation that the game maker was not prepared for the sheer volume of downloads.

Niantic explained that limiting access by third-party services will allow it to roll out "Pokemon Go" to more countries, including Brazil.

"We have read your posts and emails and we hear the frustration from folks in places where we haven't launched yet, and from those of you who miss these features. We want you to know that we have been working crazy hours to keep the game running as we continue to launch globally," the Facebook post said.